It's common knowledge now that New Balance will be replaced by Nike at Anfield next season. Liverpool FC won a court case to pave the way for a Swoosh link up, which in turn has seen New Balance lose their most valuable asset in football leading to speculation that the brand may step away from the sport altogether.

Next season will see New Balance left with a scattering of clubs including Celtic, Porto, Bilbao and Republic of Ireland, and with almost all leading European clubs tied down to long term deals it may by the brand's decision to step away from football and focus heavily on their strong status in lifestyle. There's no doubting New Balance's relevance and leading position in lifestyle and streetwear, but when it comes to football all their eggs were in one big red basket.

Having lost their leading club, attentions turn to their leading player: Sadio Mané. The Liverpool striker is half way through a four year deal with the brand, but if New Balance are to scale back their involvement in football then Mané's contract will be an expensive drain on resources that could be invested into their lifestyle operations. In simple terms, Mané's contract won't be worth the money as New Balance would have nothing to sell in a football market.

So what next for Mané? The obvious front-runners for his signature would be Nike. The Swoosh will roll into Anfield in the summer and will be understandably keen to talk to Mané who would be a perfect fit for their Mercurial line, as well as giving the brand a presence amongst Liverpool's famous front three... which leads us onto another theory. With Nike investing heavily into Liverpool adidas must be thinking about ruining the party by offering Mané a deal of their own. The Three Stripes already have deals with Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino and would take great pleasure in owning Liverpool's complete electric strike force and watch on with a smirk while Nike can only plug Henderson and Milner on big launches.

A strike force of Mané and Salah wearing the X boot either side of Firmino in the Nemeziz is the perfect formation in terms of adidas marketing and would open up a number of doors in terms of campaigns where they can use one of world football's most exciting strike forces all together. It would be a move that could rival Nike's presence at the club and seriously restrict the Swoosh in fully maximising their new deal. 

No brand has ever had this opportunity that adidas have to snag Mané. Barcelona's MSN of Messi, Suarez and Neymar was shared between Nike and adidas, while Real Madrid's BBC of Benzema, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo was also a Stripe/Swoosh split. For Mané, he can look forward to a summer of Nike and adidas chasing him with cheques that'll undoubtably be bigger than his New Balance pay day.


Another departure from New Balance will be Jurgen Klopp. The Liverpool boss will switch to a standard deal with Nike when the brand move into Anfield, and while New Balance have a deal in place with Klopp that ensures he wears NB branded attire in any sporting situation, Nike will likely take that on too. In the same sort of agreement that Pep Guardiola has with PUMA at Manchester City.

New Balance could still remain in the football market and see out their four year deal with Mané, but Nike and adidas will be very much in the hunt. You can be sure of that.