United set to sign record deal with American giants AIG
Wednesday 05 April 2006
The other party in the Manchester United sponsorship tryst that has so far prompted allegations of "double-dealing" and the withdrawal from a world- record £70m deal is expected to be revealed as the insurance and financial services giant American International Group.
AIG have emerged as the leading contenders to replace Vodafone as United's main commercial partners over the next four years, an agreement that will net the Old Trafford club the most lucrative sponsorship deal in world football and thus explain their decision to abandon negotiations with the online gambling firm Mansion last weekend.
Mansion accused United of using them as a stalking horse to attract alternative sponsors despite their willingness to pay more than the £15m a year Juventus receive from Libyan oil company Tamoil and Samsung's £10m-a-year contract with Chelsea, currently the largest deals in world and English football respectively.
United, however, had reservations about entering into a high-profile deal with the betting industry, a fact demonstrated by the Mansion chief executive David Kinsman's admission that at no time during talks with the club did he meet any of the three Glazer brothers who are now on the Old Trafford board.
By contrast, Bryan Glazer is believed to have been involved in negotiations with AIG and it will be regarded as a coup by the controversial owners if they secure a contract that reaffirms the club's standing in the game. The company has interests in 130 countries and would be keen to exploit the market offered by United's global fan base.
United have been negotiating with potential sponsors since November, when Vodafone announced it was ending its £9m-a-year deal two years early.
Whatever the colour of the new sponsors' money, the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, already has designs on how to spent it. The Scot was at the San Siro last night for the Champions' League quarter-final between Milan and Lyon, two clubs who possess the kind of imposing defensive midfielder that United have craved all season, in the pugnacious Gennaro Gattuso, of the Rossenieri, and the French club's Malian international Mahamadou Diarra.
X Factor judge will appear in court later this month
The Google future, including microphones in every ceiling and data sent directly to your brain
Latest in Sport
Comment: David Moyes paying the price of Manchester United's virtual abstinence from top-level transfers since 2006. Can he refire their ambition?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Transfer news: Manchester United will not be forced into panic buys, says David Moyes
Ashes 2013-14 match report: Alastair Cook future in jeopardy after another woeful display sees England lose to Australia by 218 runs to go down 2-0
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 2 Council bans use of word ‘Commie’ – but ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are fine
- 3 The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
- 4 Newly vegan Beyoncé wears fox fur to dine in meat free restaurant
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent