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Shirt-sponsorship deal

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<h2>Chelsea and Samsung are in the early stages of negotiations over an extension of the £55 million shirt-sponsorship deal that expires at the end of the 2009-10 season.

Samsung have indicated that they are keen on a renewal and the club are happy to enter negotiations with a view to securing an improvement on the £1 million a year they now receive.

With Manchester United also in the market for a shirt sponsor in 2010 — their deal with ailing insurance giant AIG is unlikely to be renewed and the club have been linked with Indian corporation Sahara — an early deal would be welcomed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich as he seeks to reduce the club’s dependence on him.

The impending commercial discussions also help to explain the club’s aggressive response to weekend reports, categorically denied, that Abramovich is looking to sell the club.

The Russian issued a writ against The Sunday Times on Monday after it reported that he was in talks with Middle Eastern investors, and Chelsea have now been added as a complainant because of the potential commercial damage the story could cause to the club.

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