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United keen to broker new Nike contract and break huge US market

MANCHESTER United are "bullish" about the prospects for future growth - particularly in the US - and that could prove expensive for American sportswear giants Nike.

United executives are due to sit down with Nike counterparts in February at the start of a six-month negotiating period over their £303million (€377m) kit supply deal.

And it seems obvious Nike will have to come up with an huge sum to satisfy United's owners, the Glazer family.

In July, United announced a staggering £357m (€444m) deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.

That figure prompted United to buy-out the present deal with DHL for the club's training kit, which will now come to an end at the climax of this season.

And clearly, United believe there is a lot of money to be made.

"We feel we know, with some clarity, the value of our rights, and we are bullish about the abundance of opportunities available to accelerate the growth of this business," said United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

"The planning on DHL started post-GM deal. We are always monitoring the value of our rights. We can improve the amount, duration and rights package about that deal.

"Our six-month negotiating window with them (Nike) starts in February. We look forward to sitting down with them then."

Privately, United officials do not believe the way the Nike deal is structured fits with the more commercially aggressive Glazer regime.

Sponsorship certainly appears to be a lucrative revenue stream for United, given they posted a 32pc increase to £27.8m (€34m) for the three months to September 30, 2012.

Including the General Motors contract, United completed 10 sponsorship deals during that time, confirming an increase in workforce from 670 to 735 was almost exclusively connected to the marketing sector.

United now have mobile phone partnerships in 44 countries, with Woodward claiming a three-year deal with Japanese soft drinks manufacturer Kagome came as a direct result of opening an office in Hong Kong.

He added that the USA was the "next natural place" for expansion and a regional centre given as many supporters watch United there as do so in the United Kingdom.

It was also confirmed United had received £2.5m (€3.1m) as a result of being an Olympic Games football venue, plus £1.3m (€1.6m) in compensation for players appearing at Euro 2012.

In addition, United used proceeds of IPO to reduce total debt by 17pc to £359.7m (€447.5m).

This is unlikely to appease the vast numbers of anti-Glazer United supporters, though.

An 'exceptional item' of £3.1m (€3.8m) related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO, part of what is estimated to be an overall spend of £550m (€684m) in interest and fees since the Glazer takeover in 2005.