English Premiership

Anelka reveals Lazio interest

2014-01-27 20:38
Nicolas Anelka (Getty Images)

London - French striker Nicolas Anelka has thanked Lazio for their interest on Monday but said he wanted to stay with West Bromwich Albion despite the furore over his 'quenelle' goal celebration.

There has been speculation Anelka could leave the Premier League side and bow out of English football completely after being hit with a Football Association charge after making a gesture condemned in France as anti-Semitic.

Anelka has requested a formal hearing to contest the charge, which could see him banned for a minimum of five matches.

The 34-year-old revealed the Italian club's interest but, in a message on his Twitter account, said he'd done nothing wrong and wanted to remain in England.

"Thanks to Lazio and all the others clubs who wanted to sign me these last few days," Anelka said.

"See you this summer if I decide to continue, but the question is why should I leave my club and England?

"I'm happy here and I did nothing wrong, so now it's time to stay focused on my football with my club and I will try my best on the pitch like I always do."

A hard core of Lazio fans are infamous for their racist chanting, which has included abuse of several of Anelka's fellow black players, as well as fascist leanings which have included anti-Semitic chants.

Anelka, was widely criticised for making the 'quenelle' gesture, popularised by French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala and described by critics as an inverted Nazi salute, after scoring in the 3-3 Premier League draw against West Ham last month.

Anelka has denied he is racist or anti-Semitic but West Brom have already seen their shirt sponsor, Zoopla, opt against renewing a commercial agreement in the wake of the incident.

Reports in Britain have indicated other backers of the club are also considering their positions.

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