Arsenal are believed to have reached an agreement with Puma for the most lucrative kit deal in the Premier League, according to reports in the media.
Reports suggest the parties have struck an agreement worth in excess of £30m-a-year which could see the five year contract worth £170m in total. The deal is worth more than Liverpool’s new £25m-a-year contract with Warrior and brings to an end Arsenal’s 20-year tie-up with Nike.
The deal, which will not be announced officially for some time but will see Puma provide the playing wear and merchandise from 2014-15 onwards, will give Arsenal major additional financial clout on top of the £150m five year shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates.
It had been rumoured for several months that Arsenal would return to Puma's German rivals adidas, on the expiration of their current deal with Nike, and once again carry the three stripes. Speculation increased when adidas's former business development heavyweight, Simon Lilley, became the North London club's retail director.
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It seems, however, that after Nike passed up the opportunity to extend despite an exclusive renegotiation clause, adidas were priced out by Arsenal's financial demands and instead Puma have signed on the dotted line.
A return to adidas would likely have been welcomed by Arsenal fans - reprising a partnership with whom ample success was shared - and offered revenue potential beyond replica merchandise via adidas Originals reissues of the famous 1988-91 Away "Anfield" shirt, its notorious "bruised banana" heir and several classic Home kits. On the other hand, the Puma direction may breathe fresh life into the classic Arsenal kit and it is hoped the record deal will fund a genuine Premier League title challenge.
The new agreement dwarfs the current kit deal with Nike, which is worth £55m over seven years and expires at the end of next season. Nike will nonetheless be held fondly in the hearts of Gooners though their association with Arsenal's invincible 2003-04 season, the run to the club's first ever Champions League Final in 2006 and the transition from Highbury to their current Emirates Stadium home.