When Manchester City announced their sponsorship deal with Nike back in 2012, many feared sweeping changes would be coming to the Premier League power's kit. Well, Sky Blues fans found out on Thursday, as EPLTalk.com came through with the first leaked picture of the club's home kit for the 2013-14 season (pictured above).
As you can see, Nike's changes are barely even noticeable at first glance. Of course, the Nike swoosh is prominently placed above the right breast, but the biggest changes are subtle and come at the collar and sleeves.
Rather than a double-fabric high collar in their current jerseys, Nike went with a more toned down approach. The collar now lays flat—which is in tune with just about every American-designed jersey—and contrasts with two different shades of blue. The dark blue at the top of the trim provides a stark contrast to a baby blue bottom, and that pattern is repeated on the sleeves of the kit.
The move to Nike sparks an end of Manchester City's partnership with Umbro, which had been the team's sponsor since 2009. The Sky Blues' deal with Nike will run through 2019, so this likely isn't the last change we've seen from the global giant.
While change oftentimes brings fear—especially when it's something as traditional as a home kit—it seems like the Nike designers have done a fantastic job. They both honored Manchester City's long history and made a couple of subtle changes that make the kit look better overall.
Will Nike be able to resist its legendary tinkering for the life of the deal? That very much remains to be seen.