US insurance giant AIG have announced that they will not seek to renew their sponsorship of Manchester United when their current deal expires in 2010 and reports suggest the company are trying to negotiate an early end to the deal.
AIG were unveiled as United's new shirt sponsor amid great fanfare in 2006 as the club proudly announced a British record shirt sponsorship deal: £56.5 million over four years.
However, the US firm have been hit hard by the global economic downturn and only avoided bankruptcy last autumn when the US federal reserve bailed them out to the tune of $152 billion.
Despite the news the reigning Premier League and European champions remain bullish about their sponsorship situation and reacted calmly to Wednesday morning's developments.
''In line with industry practice, Manchester United is exploring the possibility of a shirt sponsor for the new 2010/11 season,'' said a United spokesman.
''The club is in dialogue with a select number of top companies worldwide and has so far received sufficient interest to be confident it can improve on its current £19 million annual partnership with AIG.''
Giant Indian corporation Sahara have already confirmed they are investigating United's proposals, while Saudi Telecom would also be among the companies who could be involved.
In addition, the Old Trafford outfit have strong links in both Malaysia and South Korea, so even at a time of financial prudence around the world, United remain confident of better the terms of their deal with AIG.