Chelsea and Todd Boehly 'discuss' intriguing shirt sponsorship with company owned by Premier League rivals

Chelsea are reportedly in talks with an airline as they look to add a new shirt sponsor ahead of next season.

Chelsea's search for a new shirt sponsor could involve rivals Newcastle United in a roundabout way. The Blues are currently sponsored by Infinite Athlete having agreed a short-term shirt sponsorship deal weeks after the start of the season.

The West London club started the season without a shirt sponsor after their deal with communications network Three came to an end. Infinite Athlete have filled a gap, but it's no secret that the Blues are searching for a lucrative long-term deal ahead of next season.

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According to The Telegraph, discussions have led Chelsea to a potential deal with Riyadh Air. The airline was launched last year as a flagship airline for Saudi Arabia, and it is owned by PIF, the state-backed consortium who own 80% of Newcastle United. Riyadh Air already sponsor Atletico Madrid, and they pay the Spanish club around 60million (£51.2million) euros per year.

Chelsea earned around £40million per year from their previous sponsor Three, and it's likely they will increase revenue with Riyadh Air, or whoever their next sponsor is, although their sporting performance in recent years won't help negotiations. Should the club fail to secure qualification for Europe this season, that could also impact negotiations, given it will be consecutive years without European football for the Blues.

Interestingly, Chelsea owner Boehly has also recently flown to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi Pro League director of football Michael Emenalo, although the nature of the meeting was not disclosed. PIF also own a significant stake in a number of Pro League clubs, and questions will continue to arrive over their increasing role in football finances globally.

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