Last updated : 24 January 2006 By Ed

The Indie:

United's chief executive, David Gill, believes the club will attract a shirt sponsorship deal that eclipses the world record £15m-a-year that Libyan oil company Tamoil currently pays to Juventus despite their early exit from the Champions' League and a £12.3m drop in annual profits.

Gill has been in discussion with several blue-chip companies, believed to include electronic company Sony and Etihad Airways, the UAE-based airline, since Vodafone announced it would end its £9m-a-year sponsorship deal at the end of this season.

"We are having detailed negotiations with a number of companies in different sectors and what we can say at the moment is that we are very positive about the outcome of those."