Wilshere smoking row could spark Arsenal Khedira move

Jul 15, 2014

England star caught with a cigarette again, as Gunners close in on a rival for his place in the team

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere appears to have been caught smoking for a second time, after he was pictured with a cigarette in his mouth while on holiday in Las Vegas in the wake of England's World Cup exit and ahead of the new season.

The news comes as Arsenal close in on a deal for Sami Khedira, a World Cup winner who would become a direct rival for his place in the Gunners starting XI.

The images, published in the Daily Mail, show the 22-year-old relaxing in a hot tub with a group of friends, including England goalkeeper Joe Hart. Two of the images show a man holding a cigarette to Wilshere's mouth, and in another the footballer is seen puffing on a cigar.

Last October images of Wilshere smoking outside a nightclub emerged, prompting his club manager Arsene Wenger to warn that he was damaging both his health and his reputation. Wilshere accepted his mistake and said the cigarette would be his last.

But it seems the pull of tobacco has been too much and The Guardian says he now "faces fresh questions over his off-field habits".

The images are "likely to call into question Wilshere's attitude once more", says the Daily Mirror, which notes that not everyone was impressed by his behaviour during the World Cup.

"His career is threatening to go up in smoke," warns the Daily Mail, although it admits that Arsenal, when approached for comment, "dismissed any concern" about their player.

Others are equally indifferent. "Mesut Ozil has become a World Cup winner with Germany, despite the fact he has been caught having the odd puff. Zinedine Zidane enjoyed the occasional fag and did okay for himself," writes Matt Law in the Daily Telegraph. "This is not to say that smoking is in any way a good thing or should be encouraged. It shouldn't, but the actions of a 22-year-old footballer should also be kept in proportion."

However, the Daily Express says getting caught smoking is "not the wisest move", especially "with Arsenal closing in on a £23.8m deal for Real Madrid's Sami Khedira, a box-to-box midfielder who will put Wilshere's place in the first team under real threat".

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