Arsenal appointment hints at Adidas tie-up

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As many will no doubt be aware rumours of a potential Arsenal kit deal with Adidas have been doing the rounds since the summer. Indeed, even though our current partnership with Nike, which has been running since 1994, doesn’t end until 2014 there have even been suggestions the Gunners could revive their relationship with the German sportswear manufacturers in time for next season.

Whether the club is in a position to buy Nike out of the final year of their contract, as Chelsea did with Umbro before moving to Adidas in the first year of the Abramovich era, remains to be seen, but given the latest in-house appointment at the Emirates the possibility of an Adidas deal looks increasingly likely.

FC Business reported yesterday that Simon Lilley has been made the club’s new Head of Retail; a position he’ll take up next month. Having garnered ten years experience working for Adidas, he’s more recently worked for UEFA, where he consolidated Adidas’ position as a global sponsor, and for LOCOG, for whom he was Head of Licensing and Retail – a position which again saw him strengthen Olympic ties with the “The Brand with 3 Stripes.”

It remains to be seen how exactly Lilley influences Arsenal’s retail arm, although Chief Commercial Officer Tom Fox spoke warmly about the new man.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Simon has decided to join Arsenal. His track record in delivering outstanding commercial revenues for global sports brands and developing multi-channel retail businesses is second to none.

“Our retail division has made enormous strides recently and we hope that Simon will help us to continue shaping and evolving our retail strategy as we look to identify further opportunities to grow our retail operations both online and internationally.”

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