China is officially the largest foreign investor in European football. Although they have only begun to attack the market two years ago, the Chinese have managed to overtake the United States and Russia – and now they control, directly or indirectly, more foreign clubs than any other country in the world. world.
The data was recently revealed by UEFA in its annual financial report. According to the figures of the highest body of European football, Chinese capital already owns nine foreign clubs in full, and also has “significant participation” – defined as “20 to 49% of the shares of the club in question” – in other three teams. All in all, there are 12 clubs in Chinese hands.
China therefore surpasses the United States, which are ranked second (11 clubs) and Russia, which occupies the third (four teams). But there is a substantial difference between the three: while these last two have been investing for a long time, in the case of China most money only started puring less than two years ago.
Among the clubs that are now in Chinese hands are, for example, Inter Milan (cost 740 million euros), Granada, Espanyol, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Aston Villa, among other teams of Average size. And the list may not end here: for example, the purchase of the giant AC Milan should be formalized and completed in 2017 March.
China’s growth as a crucial player in international football has been exponential. At the moment, the Chinese are already paying wages as high as (or higher than) the top European clubs – Tevez, allegedly the highest paid player in the world, plays in China -, invest like few in advertising and spend millions on renewing their sports infrastructures. In short, China is looking for the domain of world football.