Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 2-1 win against West Ham at the weekend – and as clinical as his winning finish was, many couldn’t help but notice his blacked-out football boots.
The Dutchman was clearly wearing his own customised f50 adizero, with the old adiPower Predator soleplate – however, the striker had opted to render them all-but unrecognisable by turning the upper completely black.
Why would van Persie do this to his football boots?
If you’re new to the wild world of football boots, you might not know that the act of a player blacking out their boots usually means one of two things:
– They’re either testing a prototype, or
– Their current boot endorsement deal has lapsed.
As this occurred during a competitive game, we’re definitely leaning towards the latter (if adidas were testing a top-secret prototype, we’d hazard a guess they wouldn’t want it in action on worldwide television.).
In this instance, it seems likely that the former Arsenal man’s football boot sponsorship deal is currently in negotiation.
Will van Persie Change his football boots?
That all depends. As the existing boot provider, it’s likely that adidas will have first refusal on RvP’s boot deal.
We saw the same with Mesut Ozil in 2013; as adidas swooped in to sign up the World Cup winning playmaker, Nike had an exclusive negotiation period in which Ozil had to wear either un-branded adidas boots or his Nike Mercurials.
With adidas taking over as shirt supplier to Manchester United next season adidas will likely want to retain the star’s services, as having an athlete in both boots and kits makes them notably more marketable.
However, ‘RvP’ is by no means a guaranteed starter for the Red Devils beyond this season, so adidas might be weighing up the worth of a pay increase (which his agent is probably angling for).
We’ve no doubt, however, that the likes of PUMA, Nike or even Warrior could swoop for the Dutch international on a higher-pay, shorter term deal than adidas would be willing to consider.
We’re still awaiting an official line from adidas at the time of writing, but watch this space on what could be the biggest boot-switch story since Mario Balotelli’s move to PUMA at the start of the year.