Fans have nothing to fear regarding the longevity of Guochuan Lai’s West Bromwich Albion ownership amid a clampdown in China on overseas investment.

That’s the view of sports enterprise academic Professor Simon Chadwick who believes Lai is playing ball with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Jinping has sanctioned legislation changes to deter wealthy Chinese businessman from borrowing heavily domestically only to invest abroad.

The Chinese premier is determined to stop a flow of money, in football and other industries, leaving the country to protect national interests.

And after encouraging domestic corporations to become more involved in football, Chinese authorities are now putting pressure on investors with foreign assets.

One such investor is Guo Guangchang, Chairman of Wolverhampton Wanders' owners Fosun International, who is under close scrutiny.

Guo Guangchang, the new owner of Wolves
Guo Guangchang, the new owner of Wolves

“This is real, it’s happening already,” explained Chadwick, Professor of Sports Enterprise at Salford University.

“It’s not perceived, it’s genuine and it’s real.”

But Chadwick believes Lai’s business model should not contravene strict new regulations on borrowing in the Far East.

Lai has refused to splash the cash and has only allowed the club to spend what it receives.

The businessman is also giving back to China with the creation of new West Brom sponsored eco-towns, constructed by his former company Palm.

“I think his strategy is more appropriate to what the Chinese Government is seeking to do,” said Chadwick.

Guochuan Lai, West Bromwich Albion owner
Guochuan Lai, West Bromwich Albion owner

“These (eco) towns incorporate grass roots development projects, schools and colleges where kids can learn to play football and pitches for leisure time.

“That’s what the Chinese Government wants as a tangible benefit.

“It’s almost the perfect template and one of the best templates to how the Chinese Government envisaged these links to football being.

“My feeling is that they look to run West Brom on a self-sustainable basis and only to spend what they receive.

“It’s a nice, neat and tidy way to run a football club and it’s a good thing.”

Lai and the Albion Board recently knocked back a buyout offer from an unnamed American investor.

West Bromwich Albion chairman John Williams
West Bromwich Albion chairman John Williams

“My information is that there was an enquiry,” Baggies Chairman John Williams revealed.

“Our majority shareholder made it clear that he wanted to retain control of the club and continue his plans for its ongoing development.”

It was a move that suggests Lai is confident his plan with Albion complies with Jinping’s vision.

Lai is always on the lookout for new revenue streams for West Brom.

In May, Albion unveiled Palm as new shirt sponsors, in the biggest sponsorship deal in the club’s history

Weeks later Palm leaned on its association with Lai and Albion as a Premier League brand to win the eco-towns contract.

Join us for the latest on Guochuan Lai's takeover and the trip to sunny Bournemouth.
The latest on Guochuan Lai's takeover

It’s thought the club could bank some of the profits from the lucrative deal.

Under Lai, Albion have also sealed their first shirt sleeve sponsorship contract and there could be more money-making schemes in the pipeline.

“If you sign players in the Premier League it will bring cost pressures so there will be a big emphasis on adding revenue streams,” Professor Chadwick added.

“Where else could the club make money?

West Brom's new red away kit

“Sponsorship deals, new shirt deals, merchandise, real estate around the Hawthorns, leisure facilities.

“There’s that part of it as well.

“The Chinese Government want him to make money from the investment he is engaged in because that money will be repatriated to China in the end.

“Given West Brom’s current position, it makes a lot of sense the way he’s running the club.

“It’s sensible, prudent and ensures revenue cover costs.”