Arsenal unleash new PUMA kit in groundbreaking deal

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Midfield models: Santi Cazorla (l), captain Mikel Arteta (c) and Mathieu Flamini (r) pose in Arsenal's new kit.

The capital of England came to a standstill last night as PUMA celebrated the launch of their groundbreaking kit deal with Arsenal by transforming the London Eye into the Premier League giant's iconic Clock End.

An awe-struck crowd gathered along the north bank of the River Thames to witness the stunning 20m high water projection which showcased all three new outfits, marking the beginning of a deal believed to be worth £150 million (Dh994m) over the next five years.

The announcement was the second major one of the night for the north London outfit, with a £35m (Dh220m) deal for Barcelona and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez also being revealed.

The use of the Clock End in the kit presentation was a nod to tradition, the giant timepiece becoming synonymous with the FA Cup holders at former ground Highbury before following them to the Emirates Stadium in 2006.

"This is a big day for Arsenal," Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said. "It is the start of our new partnership with PUMA, and everyone here is extremely happy with how things are developing.

"Today is a landmark in our club's history as we look ahead to the upcoming season."

Earlier, supporters flooded into PUMA's flagship Carnaby Street store in central London to see next season's kits being revealed by midfielders Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Mathieu Flamini.

The historic red and white Arsenal colours will be worn at home next term, with blue and lime green  and yellow and navy blue jerseys on display in away cup and league matches respectively.

A giant curtain dropped to reveal a prominent Arsenal facade, with excited Gooners queueing to have their picture taken with the newly-won FA Cup.

Vice-captain Arteta was thrilled with the event.

He said: "Watching the reaction of the fans as we stood in the store window was unbelievable. They were all really excited to see the new kits.

"It's a great start to this new season and we are hungry to progress and bring more silverware to Arsenal and our fans."

The agreement between the two parties was announced in January, marking the end of a 20-year relationship between Arsenal and American brand Nike.

The partnership represents the biggest deal in each organisation's history, with the playing and training kit production being supplemented by a wide-ranging licensing contract to develop branded club merchandise across the globe.

PUMA have become an increasingly prominent presence in world football, producing the kits for the Italy national team and 2013 Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund as well as sponsoring prominent players such as Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao.

The huge figures involved with the Gunners, however, mark an upscaling of the German sportswear company's commitment to football.

"This evening was a momentous occasion for PUMA, and one we have looked forward to for some time," chief executive officer Bjorn Gulden said.

"It is a privilege to working with Arsenal. I am absolutely sure this is the start of a long and prosperous relationship for both PUMA and Arsenal."

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