Aaron Ramsey, Alvaro Negredo, Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj, Samir Nasri, Vincent Kompany. What do all these names have in common? They are all players who look set to join the New Balance camp, as and when it takes over from Warrior Football.
In August it emerged that Warrior Football was set to be re-branded as New Balance, its parent company, from next season onwards. Not only was this announcement significant for the likes of Liverpool, Sevilla, and Porto, who have their kits manufactured by Warrior, but also for the players wearing Warrior boots.
As of right now, Warrior Football officially has five players on its book. Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini, Tim Cahill, Kolo Toure, and Fernando make up the Warrior cohort. However, with the imminent re-branding it has become clear that New Balance have been aggressively adding to this already impressive lineup.
This has been evident in the unprecedented number of high profile players who have been sporting black and white out boots this season. While this is partially due to the fact that it is a post-World Cup season, and contracts often run out after major competitions, the rise of New Balance is also a major contributing factor.
At the end of September, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey joined this list by turning out in a mysterious pair of blacked out boots. Ramsey had previously been a big adidas man, but was allegedly identified as a prime target for Warrior and New Balance. While there was plenty of speculation surrounding Ramsey’s switch there was no concrete evidence that he was actually joining up with New Balance, at least until last week. Just a few days ago, Ramsey showed up in Wales training in the same white out boots that he had been wearing previously, but with one key difference. On the side of the boot was a big N: New Balance.
Ramsey was not the only player who was sporting the N on the side of his boot. Marouane Fellaini, already a big Warrior name, was spotted training for Belgium in a blacked out boot with the same logo. The fact that Fellaini was wearing New Balance suggests that Warrior Football will completely cease to exist from next season onwards, with all of its current players switching over to the new brand.
Other new players who are most likely going to join up with New Balance include Alvaro Negredo, the former City man who is now playing for Valencia, young star Adnan Januzaj and Samir Nasri. While these players look most likely to join New Balance, there are a fair few big players wearing un-branded boots who could also be convinced to make the switch – notably Robin van Persie, Carlos Tévez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. While Zlatan has been heavily linked with his old brand, Puma, nothing has come out regarding RVP’s future so he could be fair game. Meanwhile, Tévez is playing at a great level for Juve and recently returned to the Argentinean NT, all while wearing blacked-out Nike cleats, and making him a target New Balance could pursue as another big name addition to their ever-growing roster.
Apart from who will join up with New Balance, the other big question is what exactly will they wear? Warrior already have three well-established silo’s – the Gambler, Skreamer and Superheat, so one would imagine that New Balance would not want all of the work put into them to go to waste. If that is the case, New Balance may just offer a range very similar to that of the current Warrior line up, just with a slightly different design and logo. On the flip side however, they could look to completely disassociate the brand with Warrior and offer up some completely new boots.
A quick look at Ramsey’s boots seems to suggest the latter. The Honeycomb design on the upper is more like the Nike Hypervenom than any of Warrior’s current boots, indicating that New Balance may pursue a completely different design philosophy. One would imagine with the variety of players New Balance will have on their books, we will see two, or maybe even three, boots to fit all the different playing styles.
A lot of the nitty gritty details regarding New Balance are up in the air right now, but as this season progresses we will definitely learn more concrete information about this intriguing new brand and its star-studded line up. What are you expecting from New Balance come next season?