Liverpool are close to agreeing a new long-term kit deal with Nike, but current suppliers New Balance are contesting their right to switch after matching terms.
News emerged on Monday night that the Reds had opted for Nike after months of talks with a variety of brands, as their deal with New Balance expires in 2020.
Man United boast the Premier League‘s largest kit deal with their 10-year agreement with Adidas worth £70 million a season, while Real Madrid (£98m a season, Adidas) and Barcelona (£100 million, Nike) are the world’s leaders.
Interestingly, an exclusive from The Athletic‘s James Pearce claims the deal with Nike is “understood to be worth around £70 million per season.”
This would be a major increase on the £45 million-a-year terms agreed with New Balance in 2015, but could be considered a disappointment given earlier suggestions it would eclipse United’s English club record.
Liverpool are European champions, and their global appeal has grown immensely due to their success under FIFA’s Coach of the Year, Jurgen Klopp.
But while this would not reach the income levels of their long-term rivals, it would be higher than that of Man City (£65m a season, Puma), Arsenal (£60m a season, Adidas) and Chelsea (£60m a season, Nike).
However, there remains one sticking point for Liverpool and Nike, as Pearce reports that New Balance have filed a dispute with the High Court after matching the offer.
This comes as a surprise, with the American company not expected to be able to reach those lofty financial heights, but it proves how valuable a partner the Reds are considered.
There is a clause in Liverpool’s existing deal with New Balance that allows them to meet any proposed deal and trigger an extension.
The club, though, are contesting that New Balance would be unable to “offer the same kind of global distribution network that Nike possesses,” as the latter could provide “greater presence in key markets across the world.”
New Balance’s court case, therefore, will be expedited on mutual agreement in order to fully establish the terms of this ‘matching clause’.
At this stage, it seems as though Nike are still the front-runners, but no official announcement can be expected yet.