Talking Point

I’ve got some bad news for you. If you think Brexit is bad, then contemplate what will happen when China goes into financial meltdown. Take one statistic. The UK’s debt, which we hear so much about, is 87% compared to GDP, whereas in China it is 299%. You don’t need to be a financial guru to understand where that is heading.

This is a preamble to some understanding about the Chinese Super League, which has come into focus with the debate regarding Arnautovic. This league comprises 16 teams with an average attendance of 24,000. The bid for Arnautovic comes from Shanghai SIPG, who are the current league champions. They paid £60 million for Oscar in 2017 Their annual revenue is about £30 million, compared to West Ham’s £175 million.

So, we can conclude the whole thing is nuts in financial terms. But, everyday we buy things from China and can’t work out how it is so cheap when you try to calculate how the manufacture, the transporter and retailer can make a profit. The answer is that Chinese companies take on huge amounts of debt and when companies can’t pay the loans back, they are called non-performing loans. Such loans increase at a rate of £20 billion per year and stand at about £1 trillion in total.

The owner of Shanghai SIPG is the Shanghai International Port Group, which has a monopoly on the ports in Shanghai and in turn, their majority share owner is the Shanghai Government.

So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out where the money is coming from. Debt, debt and more debt.

President Xi Jinping has deemed that China is to become a major super power in world football and this is to be achieved at any cost. They want 50 million adults and kids to be playing football. We have 8 million. They want 20,000 training centres and 70,000 football pitches.

One problem may be that the average height of a male in China is 5 feet five inches, whereas in the UK , it is 5 feet nine inches. However, if they start feeding the population a massive amount of red meat, this could change. Or, if we are reduced to eating vegetable because of climate change, then the reverse may be possible. By the way, Chinese condoms are smaller, so Arnautovic better take a supply with him.

Shanghaiing used to mean kidnapping men by press gangs to serve in the navy. Now it means paying someone £300,000 per week. Times have changed.