Arsenal and Manchester United are vying for supremacy in the financial stakes behind super-rich Chelsea. The Gunners have unveiled a 150 million euro, 15-year sponsorship agreement with Emirates Airlines which catapults the Premiership champions into the elite of European clubs. Shirts apart, Arsenal’s new 530 million euro stadium, due to open in two years time, will also bear the name ‘Emirates Stadium’. Emirates’ deal with Chelsea expires at the end of this season and the switch to Arsenal dwarfs Manchester’s 50 million euro link to Vodafone, a fact that no doubt helped manager Arsene Wenger put pen to paper on a new four-year contract.

At Old Trafford, American multi-millionaire, Malcolm Glazer, has finally come out of the woods and made his bid to take overall control of Manchester United. Glazer has already invested 185 million euros in the club giving him a 19 per cent shareholding and should he reach the 30 per cent threshold, stock market rules would force a full-scale take-over. The prospective shift in power, which would allow United to catch up with its principal rivals in European club football, hinges on Glazer’s willingness to pay over the odds for the 29 per cent shareholding, currently in the possession of Irish business tycoons J. P. McManus and John Magnier, reportedly ready to cash in on their 240 million euro investment.