Zenit Saint Petersburg are considering forward Malcom in January despite having just signed him from Barcelona, say reports.
Diario AS cite that a section of Zenit fans unveiled a banner, allegedly referencing the club’s traditions of not signing black players, of Malcom’s debut at the weekend: “Thank you to the leaders for their loyalty to traditions.”
That sections of fans had previously published a manifesto in which he asks the club not to sign any black players: “For us the absence of black players is only a tradition, we are not racist.”
The Russian club are said to have completed the deal for an initial €40m plus €5m in installments, with an agreement of a six-year deal worth €5m per season.
“Zenit could sell to Malcolm in January due to problems with racism. Fans have not accepted it,” Diario AS cite Ria Novosti as reporting.
On Monday, the Russian club published a statement in which it insisted that the banner waved by a “small group of individuals” was “misunderstood” by multiple media outlets, whom they said reported what had “nothing to do with reality.”
The Zenit statement read: “Zenit has a long tradition of inviting the best players from around the world to the club, regardless of their origins, ethnicity and nationality.”
The signings of Axel Witsel and Hulk caused a similar reaction by this more radical section of Zenit fans.