Gao Jisheng’s investment in Southampton is the latest in a trend that has already seized the Midlands and rendered the local owner a relic. But do fans care?

In China they’re about to launch a new way of selling luxury cars. Tall, glass-sided buildings resembling giant vending machines will contain Ferraris, Bentleys and other exotic machines, instantly available to anyone with a suitable credit limit. You pop your card in the slot, tap in your pin, and the car of your dreams will be delivered within moments, ready to drive away. Acquiring a new Lamborghini, they claim, will become as easy as buying a bottle of water.

The potential application of this to England’s Premier League is obvious. If the recent stories of an unnamed Chinese billionaire making the Glazers an unrefusable offer turn out to be true, it’s not hard to imagine a similar facility outside the gates of Manchester United’s training ground. What could be more convenient for young men on £300,000 a week with an unquenchable thirst for high-end consumer products?

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