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Arsenal reportedly agree £170m kit deal with...Puma?

Arsenal have, according to the Mirror, signed the most lucrative deal in English soccer shirt history, with a company that nobody saw coming.

Dark horse!
Dark horse!
Alexander Hassenstein

News from the Mirror today that Arsenal have signed a deal with German apparel company Puma to manufacture Arsenal shirts, gear, and assorted other things that will be conveniently available for you to purchase. The deal will start with the 2014-15 season, as the Nike deal still has one more season to run. Reports of an Arsenal-branded puma, though, are probably premature and most certainly wrong. Arsenal are many things, but genetic engineers? No sir!

(ED. NOTE: The Mirror is the only source I could find about this story, so please take it as grain-of-salty until confirmation from other sources appears, but the Mirror is and has been a more reliable source than, say, Metro or, so.)

We all knew this was coming, but I think most of us thought it would be with either Nike or adidas, or maybe Warrior at a stretch - but Puma ended up with the winning bid. Puma, as you may or may not know, was founded by Rudolf Dassler after a fallout with his brother, Adi, in 1948 over the running of their athletic shoe company. The split resulted in Adi forming adidas, and Rudolf forming Puma.

Arsenal have been with Nike for 20 years now, and were with adidas before that; Arsenal aren't a team that roll through major sponsors quickly, so I would anticipate that Puma are in for the long haul; Arsenal are probably the biggest fish they could have landed at this point, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the relationship, if Puma become to Arsenal what Nike are to Manchester United or adidas to Real Madrid.

The contract is worth "£30 million-plus" a year, and it's a five year deal, so the total value is anywhere from £150 to £170 million - eclipsing Liverpool's £25 million annual deal with Warrior, but probably to be overshadowed by Manchester United's new deal after next season.

So, here we are - Arsenal making deals that bring a ton more money into the club. This is poised to be a very interesting off season at this point, and I don't believe Gazidis and the board are done just yet.