Aston Villa players may or may not be playing in a different league next season, but they will most definitely be playing in a different kit. Coincidentally, as the club reels toward a potential relegation at the end of this current season, their four-year, £15 million kit manufacturing deal with Macron is coming to a close. And, if rumors are to be believed, the Lions are looking to a new brand for their next kit manufacturing deal: Under Armour.

The End of an Era

Macron has been designing and manufacturing Aston Villa's kits since 2012, and while the football club hasn't always performed well in that period, their jerseys have always been up to snuff. Macron has done a good job of keeping pace with modern soccer shirt trends while also retaining the classic claret-and-blue look that has always been Aston Villa's bread and butter.

Indeed, the Lions' kits tend to do reasonably well on lists ranking Premier League jerseys. Macron's Aston Villa home shirt 2015/16 was ranked seventh out of 20 in talkSPORTS rundown of this season's Premier League uniforms, with the comment "If Villa's results look half as good as this strip, they'll stay well clear of the relegation battle."

Unfortunately, the club's results haven't been as good as the shirt, and the Lions will be lucky to escape the 2015/16 unscathed by the threat of relegation. The only hope at this point is that the end of the Macron era won't also coincide with the end of Villa's long, long streak of consecutive Premier League appearances. The Lions were a founding Premier League club back in the early 1990s and have not been relegated from the division since.

Under Armour

According to Mirror, the supposed Under Armour deal could be a highly lucrative one for Aston Villa-though the publication didn't indicate or speculate on an approximate contract value. However, Mirror also noted that the contract "includes significant financial reductions in the event of relegation." In other words, Aston Villa now have another major reason to get out of the red zone by May. But can the football club pull it off? Or have they run out of good luck after last year's narrow escape?

If Aston Villa do manage to avoid relegation, they could be one of three clubs sporting Under Armour kits next season. The United States-based sportswear company already serves as the kit manufacturer for Tottenham Hotspur, having signed a £50 million contract with the soccer club ahead of the 2012/13 season.

Meanwhile, Rumors of a pending kit manufacturing deal between Under Armour and Southampton have been swirling for months. Southampton currently have a kit manufacturing deal with Adidas, but the relationship between the football club and the sportswear company has been strained, to say the least. The Saints signed a three-season agreement with Adidas in 2013/14, but the contract was terminated just a year later and Southampton ended up producing their 2014/15 kits in-house, without a brand. The Southampton-Adidas contract resumed this season, but it looks like the Saints are ready to be rid of the Three Stripes, and Under Armour is set to be the replacement.

It goes without saying that Under Armour would prefer Aston Villa to stay in the Premier League. Not only are top-flight kit manufacturing deals more lucrative, but Under Armour would also benefit from the PR of having deals with 15% of the Premier League's teams. The USA company is clearly looking to expand further into the association football realm, and having three Premier League teams for the 2016/17 season would be a major part of their continued growth.

Outside of England, Under Armour manufactures kits for club teams like St. Pauli (Germany), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Deportivo Toluca (Mexico).

You can still get your hands on what is likely to be the final set of Aston Villa kits made by Macron by visiting Soccer Box today! We still have stock remaining of the claret and blue Aston Villa home shirt 2015/16 and the yellow and green away jersey.