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.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West