Manchester United are expected to sign a record sponsorship deal with kit manufacturer Nike when their contract comes up for renewal next year.

The 19-time title winners and the American sportswear giant, according to ESPN, will enter into an exclusive negotiating window in February, and the deal is set to eclipse the club's rivals.

Manchester United are currently paid £23.3 million-per-year by Nike, which is significantly less than Real Madrid's with Adidas (£32 million) and also ranks behind Liverpool's annual income of £25 million from Warrior Sports.

However, the Old Trafford club are set to thrash out a record deal with Nike - who have sponsored United since 2002 - when the two parties meet in early 2013.

"We are in a period during which the optimum length and value of a kit deal have really yet to be established,” Simon Chadwick, chairman in sport business strategy and marketing at Coventry University Business School, told ESPN.

"Any Manchester United deal is thus likely to be a barometer of the way in which the market is likely to develop over the coming years."

The popularity of United and England striker Wayne Rooney, a client of Nike, is cited as a key reason the supplier is not prepared to surrender its deal to another company.

Rooney has over ten million fans on his official Facebook page, and is ranked as one of the most 'liked' sports stars in the world.

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