Joseph Masi: Lai went to extreme lengths to make West Brom visit
Guochuan Lai went to extraordinary lengths to return to West Brom today after a three-year absence, according to Express and Star reporter Joseph Masi.
The Chinese businessman was at Albion on Wednesday (15 December), but he had to quarantine upon entering England and will also spend a couple of days in self-isolation when he returns to his home country.
The Baggies owner has remained in charge of the club from China, with chief executive Xu Ke (Ken) and chairman Li Piyue remaining on ground to oversee things, and his sudden visit surprised a lot of the fans.
Masi took to his personal Twitter account to post: “Big news coming out of Albion today. Owner Guochuan Lai has returned to the club after a three-year absence.
“He met Valerien Ismael at the training ground earlier today and then had lunch with other senior staff members at The Hawthorns.”
He then detailed the processes the West Brom chief is going through for the visit.
Masi said: “Lai has gone to staggering lengths to return. He quarantined here for 10 days.
“When he returns to China, he’ll quarantine for 14 days in a hotel, seven days at home without going out and then for seven days he’ll have to post negative tests daily.
“Effectively a 38-day quarantine period.”
Must be a reason
Lai must have his reasons for visiting, but something must have triggered it given that he has never appeared to be fond of the club.
He has not invested in the club in five-and-a-half years, and given that he wants to sell West Brom, his return could be mainly to get that process on track.
The billionaire could have as well remained in China and get things rolling, but as Masi pointed out, the visit is the first step towards him reintegrating himself back into the club.
Having held talks over the winter transfer window, it is safe to say the owner would love to see his club return to the top-flight so as to finally get the chance to sell it.
Having acquired West Brom in a £200million deal in July 2016, there is no way anyone would buy the club close to that amount if they are still in the Championship.
He will be making some profit if he sells them when they earn promotion, and that would be music to the fans’ ears as they really need an owner that is ready to take Albion to the next level.
In other West Brom news, a billionaire-owned club wants to sign Baggies ace as two-man shortlist emerges.