Manchester United, the world’s richest and most influential soccer club, is to team with America’s wealthiest baseball club, the New York Yankees. Their joint aim? To prise yet more money out of broadcasters, sponsors and their worldwide army of besotted fans.

The deal, said to have a potential worth of billions of pounds/dollars, will be formally announced tonight in New York, according to sources.

Word is that the duo plan to form a superclub, packaging themselves as a single entity and jointly negotiating broadcast rights with sponsors and TV networks. They will also pool their merchandising, each club offering its fans the other’s kit replicas and souvenirs.

Soccer legend and Man U shareholder Sir Bobby Charlton flew to America yesterday with United chief executive Peter Kenyon – although neither would make a statement. Yankees chairman Harvey Schiller was similarly zip-lipped.

The baseball giant is the property of YankeeNets, which also controls the New Jersey Devils and the NBA's New Jersey Nets. The Yankees are thought to be to be capitalised at around £400m, a trifle alongside United’s reported £1 billion.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)