Puma rival Nike in £300m Manchester United kit deal

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Puma have emerged as serious players in the race to become Manchester United's new sponsors, according to the Daily Mail.

The Red Devils deal with Nike is in to its last 18 months allowing other companies to negotiate with the club much like the Bosman transfer rule.

Although Nike were ready to blow everyone out of the water with a sensational 10 year deal worth £700m, it is thought Puma are ready to rival the offer with a five year deal worth £300m.

Although technically worth less than Nike's offer, the Puma deal is more attractive as it represents an opportunity to renegotiate sooner.

The advantages of renegotiating after five years rather than 10 will make sure Manchester United don't fall behind their rivals again. Signed 13 years ago, their current Nike deal, worth £23.5m-a-season was groundbreaking at the time. Now it is significantly less than rivals Arsenal, who have just signed a deal with Puma worth £30m-a-season.

At £60m-a-season, the potential deal would be astronomically higher than the next biggest sponsorship deal in the world, currently thought to be Real Madrid's deal with Adidas worth £31m-a-season.

There are concerns from both companies, however, that Manchester United may fail to qualify for the Champions League. They are currently nine points behind fourth place after their latest draw against Fulham and must see a dramatic upturn in form to make the elite competition.

If they fail to qualify it is thought the value of any potential deal will be significantly reduced.

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