West Bromwich Albion have announced that chairman Jeremy Peace has agreed a deal to sell the club and its parent company to a Chinese investment group, headed by Guochuan Lai.
Lai, 42, is the controlling shareholder in Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited, and has announced he's excited to take the club into a new era. Peace is set to step into an advisory role at the club and be replaced by former Blackburn Rovers Chief Executive and Chairman John Williams.
Peace has spent 14 years in his now former role, and 16 years on the club's board. The sale just needs to be ratified by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Premier League before being completed.
Lai said on his new venture: "I am excited and privileged to have the chance to become the new owner of this great club. 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."
Williams also said on his new appointment: "When Jeremy Peace called me to discuss the opportunity, I was initially intrigued but by the end of the conversation very excited.
"Following in Jeremy's footsteps is not an easy task. He has piloted Albion through some choppy waters to see the club become established and debt-free in the Premier League and that, I know from experience, is no mean achievement.
"I know the stability provided by good management and staff throughout the club, coupled with the untapped potential, was important in Guochuan’s decision to invest. Likewise, I am very keen to work with existing staff.
"I have no intention of parking my tanks on anybody's lawn but hope to add value and the benefit of experience where I can. I will be fully focused on Albion, although my involvement will be more strategic than operational.
"The immediate focus is on our activity in the transfer window; quite frankly, everything else is peripheral. Tony Pulis and Nick Hammond have told the board we are two or three players short, realistic targets have been identified and there are funds available."
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