The European champions are confident of securing a lucrative agreement by the autumn and it seems most likely that Saudi Telecom or Indian financial services company Sahara are favourites to take over from AIG. However, with next season's United strip – due to be launched in China on the first-leg of the club's Far East tour in July – already in production with the AIG logo in place, moves by AIG to change its name to AIU could leave United with a redundant sponsor for the duration of the 2009-10 campaign.
A Nike spokesman said: "For the 2009-10 season all Manchester United shirts and training products have been produced with the AIG logo in line with the company's continued sponsorship of the club. The speculation surrounding AIG had very little impact on the process of manufacturing this product."
Such has become the bad feeling toward AIG in America the company's security team has been forced to warn US-based employees to take special precautions and "avoid wearing any AIG apparel with the company insignia" as a result of growing hostility towards the company following revelations of bonuses paid to employees from bail-out funds.
The company's Manhattan offices have already been renamed AIU Holdings and chief executive Edward M Liddy has admitted that AIG have no option but to change their discredited name.
Liddy said: "I think the AIG name is so thoroughly wounded and disgraced that we're probably going to have to change it."
United are due to receive the final £14 million instalment from AIG ahead of the start of next season, but the American company, rather than United or Nike, would be forced to foot the prohibitive cost of any logo changes on next term's kit.
The club will play in the four-team Audi Cup in Munich at the end of July. The two-day competition, held at Munich's Allianz Arena, will feature United, Boca Juniors, AC Milan and Bayern Munich.
United will face Boca on July 29 following their four-game tour of the Far East before tackling Milan or Bayern in the final/third-place play-off on July 30.....Back To Home Page...