Two months later, two state-backed Chinese companies bought 13% of the shares of City’s parent company, the latest example in a series of China’s overseas soccer investments.

It is unclear how long-lasting a soccer spending spree linked to one man’s love of the game can be, but European club owners and managers are concerned. “China looks to have the financial power to move a whole league of Europe to China,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of China’s spending spree in early February. “I don’t know how deep the desire in China is, but if there’s a very strong political desire, we should worry.”

Some of China’s soccer investors, meanwhile, have been very open about the political push behind their deals. China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, owner of Wanda Group, has a 20% stake in Spain’s Atletico Madrid. The 56-year-old property mogul reportedly wrote in a recent book: “The government leaders care about it very much, and the Chinese administration of sports made several appeals, so I came back and am offering support for Chinese football.”

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