Arsenal have been strongly linked with Club Brugge winger Noa Lang after his fine recent form, but the young Dutchman is a controversial figure after an incident earlier this year.
The Gunners might do well to think twice about Lang’s character, as it’s been widely reported that he was investigated by the Belgian Football Association for taking part in an anti-Semitic chant.
Videos circulated on social media back in May that appeared to show the 22-year-old celebrating Brugge’s title victory by trolling rival fans Anderlecht with a chant that has been associated with racist comments about the Jewish community.
According to the Times of Israel, Lang could even be heard singing the lyrics that he’d “rather die than be a Jew”, and that he refused to take up the chance to apologise when he released a statement about it on Instagram.
The reference to Jews, according to Belgian sports papers, was refers to players and supporters of Anderlecht, in a similar way to Tottenham Hotspur sometimes being referred to, or even referring to themselves, as “Yids”.
Lang refused to apologise, releasing a statement saying: “My dad’s Surinamese and my mother’s Dutch. I know all about racism and bias.
“I chanted enthusiastically with supporters I met for the first time after winning. As a former Ajax fan I know very well the soccer world’s nicknames.
“I did not mean to offend anyone. I’m done with the subject and won’t be revisiting it.”
Brugge defended the player in a statement of their own, saying: “When Noa Lang sang with our fans, there was no anti-Semitic undertone. Noa did not mean to hurt or insult anyone in any way and we are sorry if this happened.”
It will be interesting to see how Lang’s reputation recovers from this, as some Arsenal fans may well be uneasy about the idea of signing a player associated with these controversial comments, particularly as he seemed to insist he’d done nothing wrong despite the chant clearly causing offence.