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Will Man United new sponsor be Indian conglomerate?

Report by Reuters this morning that Manchester United are talking to the Indian conglomerate Tata Group about a shirt sponsorship deal.

United’s four-year, $100 million contract with American International Group runs until May 2010 but the insurance giant said in January it would not be renewing the deal.

The English Premier League champions sent a shirt sponsorship proposal to another Indian company, the Sahara Group, in January and local media reported on Thursday that United had also approached the Tata Group.

“It’s reasonably right,” a brand consultant of the Tata Group told Reuters of the reports. There are various sponsorship options, one for the team shirt. This has been going on for some time but nothing has been finalised.”

The Tata Group has interests spanning steel, cars, information technology, communication, power, tea and hotels. Tata Consultancy Services, the software arm of the group, is one of the sponsors of the Ferrari Formula One team.

Last month the chief executive of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia also said his company was pondering whether to become United’s new shirt sponsor. Saudi Telecom and British insurer Prudential have also been linked as potential backers of United, who rely on sponsorship for around a third of their revenue.

Man United has the richest shirt sponsor deal in the Premiership and it will be interesting to see if they can get the $25 million a year deal they had with AIG in today’s economic climate