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Man Utd Sign Ј56m Aig Shirt Deal

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The club is currently sponsored by Vodafone

Manchester United have signed the UK's biggest shirt sponsorship deal.

The agreement with insurer American International Group (AIG) is worth Ј56.5m over four years, the club said.

United have had to find a new backer after current sponsor Vodafone decided to end its Ј9m-a-year agreement from the end of this season.

The deal is seen as key to United as they look to bolster their squad to help them challenge for domestic and European honours.

Off and on the pitch, United have undergone a slight wobble during the past couple of years.

Earlier this year, a survey said that Real Madrid had leapfrogged Manchester United to become the world's richest football club in terms of income.

SPONSORSHIP DEALS

Tamoil - Juventus, Ј15m a year

BenQ - Real Madrid, Ј14m a year (from 2006)

T-Mobile - Bayern Munich, Ј11.4m a year

Samsung - Chelsea, Ј10m a year

On the pitch, Chelsea have dominated the domestic league and United have failed to make an impression in European competitions.

The club hopes that the shirt deal will go a long way towards helping to finance a recovery.

However, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said the club's spending policy would remain the same.

"The financial foundation will benefit the club as a whole and we can look forward to years of progress through that," he said.

"But for me it's always going to be about how we can improve the team and nothing changes in that respect.

"I go to (chief executive) David Gill and say 'this is a

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