Ex-Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino claims that Arsene Wenger’s insistence on subbing Alexandre Lacazette off before the final whistle indicates that the Frenchman doesn’t fully trust the 26-year-old.

After watching Wenger’s treatment of Lacazette during the first eight Premier League games of the season, Cascarino is convinced that the boss doesn’t trust the striker yet, which is why he’s struggling for full matches.

“Arsenal have made a huge investment on Lacazette, spending £44m to sign him from Lyon in the summer, yet Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem sure about him,” Cascarino told the Times.

“The France striker has played 90 minutes once in the league this season, in the opening game against Leicester City.

“Since then he has played: 78mins, 28, 75, 66, 83, 71, 68.

“That will be rocking his confidence.

“He scored a brilliant goal away to Stoke that was disallowed and Wenger immediately hauled him off.

“I don’t believe he would have done that to someone like Thierry Henry, a striker who he trusted to produce the goods.

“Come on Arsene, back your centre forward.

“They spend all that money and he is being treated like a squad player.”

Laca has only played a full 90 minutes once this season and that was during the opening game of the season against Leicester. Since then, the striker has featured for just 469 minutes over seven games. That’s 67 minutes per game on average. Considering Arsenal spent a club record of £52m on him this summer, you would think he’d be getting more.

lacazette watford
WATFORD, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 14: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road on October 14, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

During Saturday’s 2-1 loss away to Watford, Laca was taken off for Olivier Giroud in the 68th minute. Just before the Hornets equalised and then went on to win.

Wenger previously spoke about the France international having to adapt to the Premier League from Ligue 1, where he’d spent his entire career.

This was after Laca was benched for Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat away to Liverpool, forcing Gooners to question how the 26-year-old was supposed to adapt from the bench. Especially after he’d scored against Leicester and Stoke, the latter of which was ruled out.

For all we know, Laca’s had a word with the boss and asked him not to play him for full matches for a while. However, his work rate suggests this isn’t the case and I highly doubt most self-respecting players would do that.

This tends to make me agree with Cascarino.