West Brom on verge of Chinese takeover
West Bromwich Albion will become the latest Premier League club to fall into foreign hands in the next fortnight, reports Neil Moxley in the Sunday People.
He said: 'Owner Jeremy Peace is ‘close’ to sealing a £150million deal for the Baggies as he brings to an end a process that has been on-going for the past two years.
'The newcomers are reportedly monied Chinese – and will have significant cash to spend on a club that has been prudently run since the out-going chairman assumed control 15 years ago.
'Peace himself is set to quit with chief executive Mark Jenkins likely to follow. It is understood that sporting director Richard Garlick could move into a boardroom position to help smooth the transition.
'At present, exact details are difficult to glean with the Baggies’ hierarchy determined to keep as much information as possible under wraps.
'However, even though it is relatively late in the summer to complete a handover, West Brom have been finalising their arrangements for several weeks.
'They have been to sanctioning a deal with investors from the Far East before. But a source said: ‘You’ll be able to measure their wealth in billions, not millions.’
'Rumous have been circulating the Black Country for some time that Wang Jianlin – China’s richest man – has been looking to build up a stake in an English club.
'He already has a 20 per cent interest in Atletico Madrid and a move into the Premier League would be the logical next step.
'West Brom chief Tony Pulis has been relatively quiet in the transfer market so far, adding only Matt Phillips from QPR to his squad, along with re-signing James Morrison who was able to quit the club on a free transfer.
'It fits that with negotiations taking place in the background that Peace – along with Spurs’ Daniel Levy – is possibly one of the most hard-nosed owners in the top-flight – has been keeping his cash close to his chest in case of a possible exit.
'Incredibly, when the deal is confirmed, it means that every west Midlands club in the top two divisions of English football is likely to have owners from the Far East.
'In fact, the only major clubs in the Premier League and Championship with English owners will be the Coates family at Stoke City and Mel Morris at Derby County.
'It is touch and go whether West Brom will make their announcement before rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers who are also in the midst of a takeover
'Super agent Jorge Mendes – representative of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho among others – is part of the group attempting to purchase the club from building magnate Steve Morgan.
'That deal to is nearing completion. However, it is understood that the widely circulated name of Robin Li – founder of internet search engine Baidu – is NOT the buyer.
'Li has been linked with Wolves but sources close to the club have indicated that the country’s sixth most wealthy individual will not be following up acquiring a controlling stake in AC Milan by adding Wolves to his portfolio of sports’ businesses.'