Liverpool CEO Peter Moore’s admission this week that the club will soon be ‘entertaining offers’ from kit suppliers will have sent ripples across the industry.
It is seven years since the Reds’ last search for a sportswear partner ended in them signing a long-term deal with Warrior Sports that was subsequently taken over by their Boston-based parent company New Balance.
At that point, Liverpool were heading for an eighth-placed Premier League finish and a third-straight season without Champions League football that even League Cup glory could not mask.
But with that deal nearing a conclusion set for the summer of 2020, one of the most iconic brands in English football is preparing to return to a much-changed market in far ruder health.
The reported £45m-per-season value of Liverpool’s deal with Warrior has since been eclipsed by Chelsea’s link-up with Nike (£60m), and Arsenal (£65m) and Man Utd’s (£75m) agreements with Adidas.
As such, Standard Sport understands that the Merseyside club are aiming for a figure close to that secured by their great rivals from Old Trafford when they seek out a new partner.
Thankfully for Moore and his commercial team, they should not find it too difficult to argue that such numbers represent value for money when negotiations begin.
That is because, somewhat fortuitously, New Balance’s stint as Liverpool’s kit manufacturer has dovetailed perfectly with a Jurgen Klopp-led revolution on the pitch at Anfield.
The American company – whose recent attempts to muscle into the soccer market have seen them also sign up Celtic, Porto, Lille and Athletic Bilbao – could not have dreamed of having their logo on show in a Champions League final when a deal was first struck with the Reds in 2012.
What’s more, the fact that such a memorable European journey was undertaken in a special 125th anniversary kit contributed to the biggest home shirt sale numbers in Liverpool’s history.
Now, as the club aims to take the final steps of its return to the elite under Klopp, it does so with world-class footballers – and, crucially, marketable assets – such as Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah signed up to long-term contracts.
And that should make enticing sportswear giants such as Nike and Adidas to the table far easier for Moore and co as they look to secure a kit deal worthy of the club’s on-pitch ambitions.