Romelu Lukaku
Everton are just one team of many who are sponsored by an Asian businessGetty

In June 2003, football changed forever. As Roman Abramovich stepped into Chelsea HQ as owner of the west London team for the first time, gone were the days of top-flight football being dubbed "the working man's game".

Football suddenly became the millionaire's club as oil-rich oligarchs entered the footballing fray to capitalise on the ever-increasing commercial opportunities associated with the modern game.

From Abramovich's Chelsea, to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's Manchester City, and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi's Paris St-Germain to the Glazer-owned Manchester United, football clubs have become something of a toy for the rich.

And with the increased finances being pumped into football, comes more opportunities for brands to get involved.

No one has taken better advantage of this than major corporations that hail from East Asia. Their growing influence on football is indicative of how the world's economy is playing out.

As more economic power is shifting away from the West to the open arms of the likes of China and Japan, they've recognised football is a major influence on people in Europe and, more importantly for them, an increasing influence on the United States.

Chinese telecoms firm Huawei embodies this stance. The Guangdong-based business is associated with teams all across Europe.

La Liga champions Atletico Madrid have become the latest football team to sign a sponsorship deal with the brand, joining the likes of Arsenal, PSG, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, Ajax and Galatasaray in a strong financial affiliation with the mobile phone manufacturer.

Exploit The Club, Exploit The Fans

Manchester United have a die-hard following in Asia, so it makes perfect sense that they would have sponsors from the region and therefore both parties can exploit each other.

In the off-season, the Premier League giants snapped up Japanese noodle manufacturer Nissin as one of its official sponsors in order to make their presence in the country even more stronger, while also making a quick buck from the business in question.

But it's not just United that have a massive following in Asia – most Premier League clubs and the top teams around the continent do.

And the supporters from Asia represent a huge commercial opportunity, such is their passion.

It's well documented that clubs have been known to buy players simply because of the fanfare that comes with them from their home country, particularly in football-mad countries such as Japan and South Korea.

One of the reasons United signed Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa was because he was heralded as the player of his generation in his native Japan, which reportedly equated to great commercial viability.

Kagawa failed to live up to the hype at United but his shirt sales would have made up for that.

Liverpool have also been guilty of this. In 2011, Gavin Laws - the boss of Standard Chartered, which sponsors the shirts of the Anfield team - pleaded with the club to sign then Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung so the team could tap into the commercial opportunities of the Asian market.

He said at the time: "The real power Liverpool could do for us, and for the Premier League, is if there was a way they could nurture foreign players from Asia."

Football will no doubt continue growing as a money-making machine. The obsession over footballers will continue to grow too with the amount of money they will make.

With the worldwide economic powers shifting to the East, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise if the footballing world increases how much it caters to an Asian audience.