Football

Smoking gun

Goalkeeper Szczesny could be fined by Arsenal after being caught smoking

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could be fined by the club following reports he smoked in the showers after the 2-0 English Premier League defeat by Southampton on New Year's Day.

Former Gunners midfielder John Jensen, a close friend of current assistant boss Steve Bould, alleged during comments made as a media pundit for Danish TV at last Sunday's FA Cup third-round 2-0 win over Hull that the Poland international had been involved in a heated bust-up with manager Arsene Wenger and was subsequently dropped in favour of David Ospina as a result, a claim which Arsenal have denied.

Reports have since emerged that the player (right) had a cigarette following the match at St Mary's Stadium, during which he was at fault for the goals.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has spoken out against smoking in the past, with England midfielder Jack Wilshere having been pictured on two separate occasions with a cigarette.

Speaking in October 2013, when Wilshere was snapped outside a London nightclub in the early hours, the Gunners boss had said: "I disagree completely with that behaviour.

"There are two things - first of all, when you are a football player, you are an example and as well you don't do what damages your health.

"The fact is that you can damage your health at home, you can smoke at home and you can drink at home, and nobody sees it but, when you go out socially, you also damage your reputation as an example."

It remains to be seen whether Szczesny will be recalled for the home Premier League match against Stoke on Sunday.

SANOGO ON THE GO?

Meanwhile, Bordeaux believe they are close to agreeing a deal to take Yaya Sanogo on loan.

Wenger is keen for the France Under-21 forward to get some first-team experience, but had suggested that he would prefer that to be at another English top-flight club.

Bordeaux president, Jean-Louis Triaud, said on Soir de Foot radio: "We are working on the arrival of Sanogo. He wants to come to us, it's a certainty.

"The goal is to have him for Monaco (who they play on Sunday). We asked for Arsenal keep us informed. They had given me as a response date of Tuesday or Wednesday. I explained that I prefer Tuesday."

On Monday, it was confirmed German forward Lukas Podolski had joined Inter Milan for the remainder of the season.

Press Association Sport understands that Arsenal have an interest in Legia Warsaw teenage midfielder Krystian Bielik, but any developments on a potential permanent transfer are at a very early stage.

The 17-year-old was in London before Christmas, and talked of his admiration for Wenger.

Speaking in an interview on Polish website, www.legia.sport.pl, he said: "I believe in him, because I know that he is not afraid to play the youngsters.

"Remember in the last game against Galatasaray in the Champions League, in which he put three 17-year-olds onto the pitch in the second half."

- PA Sport.


Smokers in football

JACK WILSHERE

Arsenal midfielder Wilshere has twice been pictured with a cigarette, once during the early hours outside a London nightclub and then again at a pool party on holiday in Las Vegas.

MARIO BALOTELLI

From fireworks in the bathroom to taking on the playground bullies, Italian Balotelli was rarely out of the headlines during his first stay in England at Manchester City, where his 10-cigarettes-a-day habit drew plenty of attention.

DIMITAR BERBATOV

There may be plenty of paparazzi snaps of Bulgarian Berbatov, who had spells at Tottenham, Manchester United and Fulham, brandishing a cigarette but it was, according to the man himself, more often than not just for show.

He said: "Sometimes when you see a picture, I just pretend to smoke to make me more of a cool guy." - PA Sport.