There seems to be a new trend in takeovers of Italian clubs where billionaire Asian owners dangle superstar signings as a sweetener in a potential deal.
First we heard that The Suning Commerce Group, who are interested in buying a stake in Inter were dangling Jiangsu Suning forward Alex Teixeira as leverage in their negotiations with Inter President Erik Thohir.
Now we hear that China’s richest man Jack Ma, who owns 40% of Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande, is interested in buying Inter’s city rivals and according to Corriere dello Sport, Ma will offer striker Jackson Martinez to AC Milan for free in order to push through a deal.
The Colombian striker has been a long-term target of the Rossoneri, but their hopes of signing seemed to end when Martinez moved from Atletico Madrid in February for a then Asian record fee of €42 million.
Despite struggling in Spain, the 29-year-old Martinez is still a terrific goal scorer, and would be a terrific addition for Milan.
The concern for UEFA has to be that Chinese owners use their co-ownership in China Premier League Sides and Serie A clubs to circumvent Financial Fair Play rules. If for example Guangzhou Evergrande buys a top player like Martinez and loans him to Milan, then the Italian side get the benefit of using the player without having to spend the money needed to sign a player of his quality. That would be a huge advantage over their domestic rivals.