Nicolas Anelka really ought to think about what clubs he name-checks in his public statements. The Frenchman has revealed that Lazio, a club with their own fan problems, tried to sign him in the last few days while insisting he has done nothing wrong.
The West Brom striker at the centre of a row over a goal celebration deemed by some as anti-semitic posted a message on Facebook thanking Lazio and other clubs for their interest in signing him but said he wanted to stay in England. He also hinted at quitting the game completely.
“Thanks to Lazio & all the others clubs who wanted to sign me this last days. See you this summer if I decide to continue…
But the question is why should I leave my club & England? I’m happy here & I did nothing wrong…
So now it’s time to stay focus on my football with my club & I will try my best on the pitch like I always do !”
Last January Serie A side Lazio were charged by UEFA for alleged racism of fans against Tottenham during a Europa League tie. A section of the Italian club’s supporters referred to Spurs links with the Jewish community, currently a hot topic, by chanting “Juden Tottenham” during the away leg in Rome in November 2012.
Last November, up to 200 Lazio fans were arrested in Warsaw, Poland, around the Europe League tie with local side Legia.
Their followers are in the news again this week as president Claudio Lotito has blasted a portion of the club’s fans for urging the team to lose against Juventus last Saturday.
Anelka faces an FA hearing in February over his ‘quenelle’ gesture after scoring in the 3-3 draw at West Ham. In France, many consider the symbol as anti-Semitic but the player insists it was in support of his comedian friend Dieudonne M’bala M’bala and that its meaning is ‘anti-establishment.’
Reports suggest the striker could face a ban of up to ten games if charged.