The Reasons for Manchester United's Failures Revealed - It's All About Uncomfortable Kits
T-shirts and socks turned out to be too tight – had to look for replacements.
The players of Manchester United are dissatisfied with the technical sponsor of the club, the German company Adidas, for providing the team with tight-fitting kits for the 2023/24 season. According to the Daily Mail, some players are now wearing replicas - copies that closely match the quality - to matches instead of the original gear.
According to the publication, several players would like a better fit of the kits, including not only outfield players but also goalkeeper Andre Onana. Players believe that the kits restrict their movements. Adidas couldn't produce new kits immediately, so they are using exact replicas of the shirts from the official Manchester United store as a compromise.
Externally, the replicas are indistinguishable from the original shirts. The only difference is that the originals are made using all the modern technologies and are lightweight. In contrast, the replicas use a denser and heavier fabric, making the product more affordable. In the Manchester United store, the original home shirts cost 82.5 pounds, while a replica will set you back 60 pounds.
Interestingly, Adidas designed the tight-fitting kits for Manchester United after Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea, who guarded the team's goal from 2011 to 2023, complained that the goalkeeper sweaters were too baggy. The technical sponsor tailored the kits for the 2023/24 season based on his feedback. However, as Daily Mail notes, De Gea, who left the club in the summer transfer window, and Onana have different body types. The bulkier Cameroonian doesn't find the fit suitable for him, which might work for the slender Spaniard.
The problems for Manchester United players are more comprehensive than the shirts but also extend to the Adidas socks. The team last played in the original socks in their 0-2 loss to Tottenham on August 19. Players complained to head coach Erik ten Hag and the team's staff that the gear was too constricting, causing discomfort to their calves. Some players took it upon themselves to punch holes in the socks to make them fit more comfortably and allow better airflow. In contrast, others had to return to the club store. The price difference is minimal: 13 pounds for a replica and 20 pounds for an original pair.
Adidas has equipped Manchester United since 2015, following the club's previous partnership with Nike. In August, the two sides renewed their agreement. According to the Daily Mail, the club's earnings under this contract will increase from 75 million pounds to 90 million pounds annually from 2026 to 2035. This represents a record-breaking contract for a technical sponsor in the history of the English Premier League. On a global scale, Manchester United is only surpassed by Real Madrid (110-120 million euros annually from Adidas) and Barcelona (108 million euros yearly from Nike).
The new agreement between Manchester United and Adidas includes a strict condition: if the club fails to qualify for the Champions League two years in a row, the payments will be reduced by 30%. The team is currently playing in the Central European Cup. However, they only managed to gather three points in matches against Bayern Munich, Galatasaray, and Copenhagen. The prospects for the next season look uncertain, as Manchester United had a difficult start in the EPL, ranking only eighth with 15 points after the first ten matches. Currently, the team is not even in the Conference League zone, let alone the Champions League zone (positions one through four).
Manchester United's results so far have not justified the high spending on transfers during Erik ten Hag's tenure. According to Transfermarkt, the club signed new players for 204.4 million euros just last summer. In the 2022/23 season, they spent 242.3 million euros in the transfer market. As reported by the British agency iNews, the coach is expected to lose influence over the club's transfer policy shortly. This is a demand from Manchester United's new investor, Jim Ratcliffe, who is close to acquiring 25% of the club's shares for 1.3 billion pounds - it is expected to be his first step toward full ownership of Manchester United.
Published by Patrick Jane