When the Chinese businessman Li Yonghong bought A.C. Milan, the world-famous Italian soccer club, virtually nobody in Italy had heard of him.
Virtually nobody in China had, either.
Mr. Li had never been named to one of China’s lists of the country’s richest people. The mining empire he described to Italian soccer officials was hardly known even in mining circles.
Nevertheless, Mr. Li seemed to have what mattered most: money. He bought the club in April for $860 million from Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, to clinch China’s biggest-ever soccer deal.
Today, Mr. Li’s acquisition of A.C. Milan appears to be emblematic of a string of troubled Chinese deals.