West Bromwich Albion takeover: New owner Guochuan Lai promises to "maintain stable structure" of Premier League club

Joe Hall
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West Bromwich Albion v Hull City - Premier League
Takeover complete: West Brom are now in Chinese hands (Source: Getty)

West Bromwich Albion's new Chinese owner pledged to maintain the club's stable structure after completing a takeover of the Premier League team.

An investment group headed by Chinese entrepreneur Guochuan Lai has agreed a deal to purchase the club from outgoing chairman Jeremy Peace and is now just waiting on Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Premier League approval.

Lai, a 42-year-old construction magnate, has funded the takeover from new sports investment company Yunyi Guokai Sports Development Limited.

Read more: West Brom enter takeover talks with unnamed bidder

He has promised to maintain the club's stability as longstanding chairman Jeremy Peace steps down into an advisory role, to be replaced by former Blackburn Rovers chairman John Williams.

West Brom takeover cheat sheet:

  • Guochuan Lai, Chinese construction entrepreneur new owner.
  • Heads up Yunyi Guokai Sports Development Limited investment vehicle, which has agreed deal to buy 88% of club from outgoing chairman Jeremy Peace.​
  • Made career building Palm construction company which now has £1.8bn market cap.
  • Palm intends to place football facilities at the heart of communities, helping to accelerate the Chinese Government’s plans to develop football in the country.

"I am excited and privileged to have the chance to become the new owner of this great club," said Guochuan Lai.

"My immediate priorities will be to maintain the club's stable structure, respecting its well-run nature and its heritage. I have no intention of changing the club's ethos."

Incoming chairman Williams said he has already discussed transfer market strategy with Lai and the board, who agree the Baggies' squad needs reinforcements.

"I have had several meetings with the board to discuss the strategy of the club with regards to the playing staff and transfer window and will be looking to support them in strengthening our squad," he said.

"We are committed to the task of ensuring we tackle this first season of a new era with a competitive team.

“I think it is also important to assure supporters that throughout the summer to date the club has been operating to a well thought out, agreed and evolving transfer plan and will continue to do so for the remainder of the window.

"Guochuan and his team have supported this process and we will continue to conduct our business accordingly."

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