Manchester United have announced a massive kit deal with Adidas. Last week Nike confirmed that this current season will be their last at providing kits for the Old Trafford club, which they have done since the start of the 2002/03 season. During that time United have had four kit sponsors; Vodafone, AIG, AON and now Chevrolet. The original Nike deal was worth £302.9 million and was announced in November 2000 and was agreed for 13 years, although Nike did have an option to cease the deal 2008, if they wanted to. Nike had a six month exclusivity period to extend thru deal, but that expired at the start of last season, with neither side agreeing a deal, which at the time spelled the end for Nike, although they were to be told of offers from other kit manufacturers and could match the deal if they wanted.
United were said to be discussing offers with Adidas, Puma and Warrior at the start of 2014, with many of the clubs supporters opting for a return to Adidas, which saw some great retro kits for 12 years beginning in 1980. To me Adidas shirts are United, I had an Adidas shirt as a child, at the time where it didn’t matter which kit you had, oh how the times have changed! The German manufacturer has always been said to be leading the race to replace Nike, which is the better option as we have seen what Warrior have to offer, their Liverpool home kits have been tame, but the problem lies with their away kits, not something you would want to be seen in. Puma kits look alright, but Adidas is where it is, for me anyway!
When Nike made their announcement, I decided to have a look into Adidas, as with Nike, many of United’s players were given individual deals to wear Nike football boots and accessories. I thought I would see how many players we currently have wearing Nike, Adidas or other manufacturers products last season and here is what I found;
Nike: David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone; Rafael da Silva, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Guillermo Varela, Marnick Vermijl, Michael Keane; Tom Cleverley, Wilfried Zaha, Antonio Valencia, Adnan Januzaj, Tom Lawrence, Jesse Lingard; Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Angelo Henriquez, Will Keane.
Adidas: Phil Jones, Luke Shaw; Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Ashley Young, Nani, Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa, Ander Herrera, Nick Powell; Robin van Persie, James Wilson.
Puma: Nemanja Vidic; Michael Carrick; Bebe
Reebok: Ryan Giggs
Warrior: Marouane Fellaini
As you can see, Nike is leading with the majority of Manchester United’s players wearing their boots, Adidas coming second with Puma, Reebok and Warrior also being represented by United players. Ryan Giggs retired at the end of last season, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand both left the club and Patrice Evra is currently finalising a move to Juventus, so you can count them all out next season. It would seem that many of the players from the Academy are currently being handed contracts by Nike to wear their boots and accessories with a couple of exceptions, as a few wear boots from other manufacturers. One thing that might be prevalent in the deal with Adidas is that United may be tasked with recruiting players who either currently wear Adidas products, or to ensure they wear Adidas products.
The clubs last three recent signings all wear Adidas boots – Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw. Three of the six signings from the 2012/13 season wore Adidas boots – Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell so looking back it may seem that United were getting ready for a deal away from Nike, but that is just my opinion.
This summer, United are linked with many players. Looking at the current rumours they are strongly linked with Mats Hummels, Stefan de Vrij, Thomas Vermaelen, Arturo Vidal and Ángel di María. Out of those players, two wear Adidas boots; Hummels and Di María with the other three wearing Nike boots. It could mean nothing but it was a thought I had and it kind of backs up the possibility of United bringing in more players who do not wear Nike boots or accessories. Obviously any manufacturer cannot demand that all players wear their kit, as that would go against everything and players would become drones who do what they are told, and we all know about player power, it wouldn’t work. Nike would rather their athletes play for a club that wears a Nike kit and possibly the same with Adidas, but it is something that will probably never happen, not across the majority anyway.
Adidas have designed some great kits in the past, but more recently, some of the kits they have released have been boring, but looking at the current kits used by World Champions Germany, Adidas may be on the rise again. Some of the club kits that have been revealed so far this summer are quite nice too. The Real Madrid shirt looks quite nice with the ‘granddad style’ collar, which of course is the same template as Germany’s away shirt, and many other teams who wear Adidas products, so providing United’s Adidas kit released in a years time is designed well, it will be widely accepted. Personally Nike kits have bored me. Last seasons shirt was nice and I do like the new one which is available from Wednesday, but the ‘made from recycled plastic bottles’ slogan grates me, as does that static produced by people with hair on their chest, but you will always get that with man-made fibres.
The Adidas deal is reportedly being announced on Monday afternoon and according to the Daily Mail, it is worth £75 million per season (a minimum of £750 million over 10 years). If you add that to the Chevrolet deal which brings United £53 million per season (for seven years) and add that to the AON training kit and Carrington Training Complex deals which were announced last summer, which would bring in an extra £22.5 million per year (for eight years), United are worth £150.5 million a year before you even add any other sponsorship deals, of which there are many, or any revenue from the sales of match tickets, season tickets, club membership, hospitality, megastore revenue and other earnings, it could be the start of a massive boost to the clubs revenue, which should hopefully help eradicate the current debt placed on the club.