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The Financial Power Of Manchester United

The Mirror has a story of Manchester United’s possible new kit for the 2014-15 season. But what caught my eye in the article was the size of United’s massive kit del that they sighed with Adidas last summer.

The 10-year deal is worth £750 million as is the richest kit manufacturing deal in world football and blows United’s European and domestic rivals completely out of the water. Real Madrid were the previous world No 1 with their £33m-a-year deal with Adidas and United’s new agreement dwarfs their current £28m-a-year contract with Nike, which expires next summer.


United’s deal is also more than double the £30 million-a-year deal Arsenal signed with Puma, which had been the most-lucrative in the Premier League.

With Financial Fair Play in effect, it is difficult to understate how big a competitive advantage this deal gives United in the transfer market. This kind of deal is why football finance expert Rob Wilson of Sheffield Hallam University, said that United are the only Premier League side who can realistically afford to sign a superstar like Lionel Messi:

“With the revenue they generate and cash reserves, only United and Real Madrid could pay the fee,” he said.

“With salary costs probably even they couldn’t stay within FFP.”

“Staggering the payments would certainly make it easier for Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Bayern Munich but Manchester United demanded the fee up front when they sold Cristiano Ronaldo and I strongly suspect it would be the same for Messi.

“[But] Unless Messi absolutely wanted to get out of the club, why would Barcelona agree to that?

“Chelsea and Manchester City clearly have the financial power but whether they would just do the deal and worry about the consequences afterwards is another matter.

“Most people thought Uefa would take a light touch approach to FFP. In fact they have shown a willingness to apply it pretty rigorously.”