By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Adidas is in pole position to secure what is expected to be a landmark kit deal with Manchester United worth a staggering £600 million, Goal understands.
The German sports manufacturer has emerged as the frontrunner to clinch a world-record agreement with the Premier League champions ahead of rivals Nike, Puma and Warrior.
United chiefs are confident the new deal will be worth $1 billion, equivalent to nearly £600m, and will comfortably exceed all other football kit contracts.
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Real Madrid's £31m-a-year deal with adidas, which was renewed in 2012 and runs until 2020, is the world's biggest current kit deal ahead of Barcelona's £27m-a-year contract with Nike.
In the Premier League, Arsenal announced earlier in 2014 that they have secured a £30m-a-year agreement with Puma, which starts on July 1, while Liverpool have a £25m-a-year contract with Warrior.
But United are confident of blowing their domestic and European rivals out of the water with a deal that will reflect their commercial dominance and the continued growth of Premier League football around the globe.
Nike's current £25.4m-a-year deal with United, which began in 2002, expires in June 2015 and a six-month negotiating exclusivity period with the US sportswear giant ended last year.
Goal understands that the Red Devils' London-based commercial operation have also held talks with Nike's three major rivals and the club are close to making a decision on the brand with which they shall sign up.
Those close to the talks say that adidas have emerged as the favourites but United are contractually obliged to hand Nike the opportunity to match any deal offered by another brand.