Manchester United seek Indian shirt sponsor

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The Independent Football

Giant Indian corporation Sahara have been approached about the possibility of becoming Manchester United's next shirt sponsor.

United's current £14m-a-year deal with American bankers AIG is due to expire in the summer of 2010 and is highly unlikely to be renewed given the company required a massive bail-out from the US Federal Reserve last year just to keep trading.

It leaves the Red Devils trawling the planet looking for alternatives at a time of financial prudency.

Chief executive David Gill has previously indicated United were looking towards India for expansion, although a first visit to play a match has not been incorporated within this summer's Asia tour.

However Sahara executives are expected to consider United's initial approach, having enjoyed a fruitful sponsorship deal with the India cricket and hockey teams in recent years.

Other companies have been approached as well, with many experts predicting Saudi Telecom, already one of United's commercial partners, may be interested in strengthening their ties.

There have also been close dealings with Malaysia - where United will play in July - in recent years, so executives are bound to look at Kuala Lumpur as well.