Liverpool in talks over Nike deal that would eclipse Man United kit earnings - sources

Liverpool are in advanced talks with Nike over a new long-term kit deal which is expected to exceed the value of Manchester United's £750 million agreement with Adidas and become the biggest ever struck by a Premier League club, sources with knowledge of the negotiations have told ESPN FC.

The Anfield club's deal with suppliers New Balance -- worth £45m a year -- is due to expire at the end of the 2019-20 season and the American sportswear company, sources said, have a "matching clause" within their contract which enables them to retain and extend their deal by equalling any rival offer.

But have told ESPN FC that Nike are leading the battle to secure the Liverpool contract due to their readiness to put the club in the same earnings league as United.

Liverpool have also held discussions with Adidas and Puma in an effort to secure the highest possible figure for their new kit deal, but the club are deep into negotiations with Nike as they attempt to reach an agreement before the New Balance contract enters its final year.

Barcelona's £100m-a-year, 10-year deal with Nike, which began in 2018, is the biggest in football, eclipsing the £98m-a-year, 10-year deal struck between Real Madrid and Adidas in 2015.

And while Liverpool are unlikely to clinch a package of the same magnitude as Barca or Madrid, market research commissioned by the club's managing director, Billy Hogan, has shown that the five-time European champions can command a deal at the same level, or even higher, than United.

There were initial concerns at Anfield that Nike's deals with Barca, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham and Chelsea, and Adidas' big-money partnerships with Real, United and Bayern Munich, had saturated the market to the extent that Liverpool would not be able to command a United-style figure.

But the club has been told that the rarity value of their kit deal becoming available, combined with the prominence of the Liverpool brand, driven by manager Jurgen Klopp and star players Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino, has strengthened their ability to secure a deal that would put them in the same bracket as football's global elite.

Liverpool, who are in contention win the Premier League and Champions League this season, announced record-breaking financial figures in February by posting a pre-tax profit of £125m for the year ending May 2018.

And the American-owned outfit are determined to maintain their financial strength by securing a kit deal which they believe reflects the club's global fanbase.