Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette is in hot water with his club AGAIN after photos appeared in UK newspapers showing the French forward appearing to inhale nitrous oxide – sometimes known as ‘hippy crack’ – from a balloon.
The club are reported to be considering taking harsh measures against the player after the images released showed him with a balloon in his mouth, allegedly the accompaniment to a text message to friends which read: “at home, chilling and doing balloons.“
This is the second time in Lacazette’s Arsenal career in which he has drawn the ire of his club for similar reasons.
In 2018 he was pictured at a nightclub inhaling gas in the company of teammates Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – after which all four players were spoken to by the Arsenal hierarchy and reminded of their responsibilities.
The club seems poised to take a harsher stance this time around.
“This is a private matter which we are taking seriously,” the club said in a brief statement.
“It will be handled internally.”
Lacazette inhaling balloon. This bum is washed. #lacazettepic.twitter.com/t6NXnCLFrc
Nitrous oxide, which is also known by a lengthy list of street names such as ‘laughing gas’, ‘whippet’, ‘NOS’ and others, is a commercially available gas that produces a feeling of euphoria when inhaled.
It can produce a range of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and has been linked to instances of brain damage in users.
In 2015, London’s Lambeth Council became the first council to ban the use of nitrous oxide as a recreational drug. It was further banned in 2016 under the UK’s Psychoactive Substances Act, which states that anyone found to be distributing the gas for recreational use could face up to seven years in jail as well as an unlimited fine.
Lacazette has already come to the attention of Arsenal officials for his recent conduct during the coronavirus social distancing regulations after he was photographed interacting with a valet who had arrived at Lacazette’s property to clean a car, in an apparent misunderstanding over what qualifies as an essential service amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Even before this latest incident, the Frenchman’s status in London remains unclear. The 28-year-old had lost his place in Mikel Arteta’s starting eleven to academy graduate Eddie Nketiah prior to the Premier League hiatus, and is tipped to leave this summer if Arsenal cannot claim UEFA Champions League football at the end of the season.