The end of any year brings with it many promises: Christmas, some time off and hopefully a football shirt-shaped present or two. It’s also the time when we can begin to get excited about next season’s kits, as early predictions and leaks begin to trickle through.
We’ve seen a real increase in how these predictions are presented in recent years as more and more people dabble with shirt rendering software. These add a real level of sophistication to early discussions, and though we have to caveat everything we see in the next few months, I’m already soaking in the various crystal ball forecasts.
As always with kit predictions, it’s important to say that everything is subject to change at this stage! Though most shirts will be in the very late stages of development, it’s entirely possible that changes and tweaks could be made over the coming months. Shirt predictions are also typically based on limited pieces of information, so don’t take anything you see at this stage as gospel.
I’ll be referring to various renders from Jack Henderson, a kit commentator and concept designer who many will be familiar with. Jack has contributed a bunch of pieces this year, including an informative article on the difference between templates and teamwear, so do check out his work. Be sure to follow him on Twitter too.
And can I stress once again; these renders do not show the final 2021/22 kits. These are kit predictions based on information we have at this point. Depending on what you think, that might be a very good or very bad thing…
Ajax have consistently produced interesting away shirts over the past few seasons, and this striped design would continue that trend nicely. Navy/dark blue has been a classic go-to for the club, and the striped design (loosely reminiscent of the green and navy 93/94 away) is a nice change of pace.
When looking back over Ajax’s shirt history, I was surprised to not see more striped kits. This perceived familiarity is a good sign in my eyes, as it suggests that this kit fits with the Ajax image, even though it’s not an obvious reinterpretation of an old design.
Speaking of Ajax, one user of Twitter suggested that this Arsenal prediction had echoes of the Dutch side’s famous home design. I can’t unsee the comparison now, and the more I see it the more I hope this prediction comes true.
Interestingly, this wouldn’t be the first time Arsenal rolled with a ‘giant Ajax’ design, as the 1998/20 home shirt from Nike featured a similar look (albeit with a navy trim either side of the red area). With 20 years since then, it’s a great time to revisit the look, and the various navy details on this prediction add a lot to the overall look.
One of my favourite Arsenal shirts from the past 10 years was the 2012/14, with its chunky navy cuff trim and navy collar, and anything that borrows some of those ideas is already off to a strong start in my books.
Black shirts always have something about them, and this Bayern Munich prediction pairs the eternally classy shade with silver/grey details. For a club as perennially-successful as Bayern, the choice of silver is an amusing choice to me, but having said that gold trim would’ve felt a little too on-the-nose, and not particularly ‘Bayern’.
Personally, I’d be interesting to see more of a luminous red secondary colour (think Croatia’s 2018 shirt, or the names and numbers on Bayern’s away kit this year), and Jack has noted that the navy collar is a a guesstimation based on the last couple of away kits which heavily featured grey.
If the end result is similar to this render there won’t be too many complaints from me.
Flamengo 2021/22 home shirt prediction - @hendocfc
Though this Flamengo prediction is not to everyone’s taste, I’m very, very excited. Flamengo kits are always good value on account of their standout colour scheme and iconic hooped look, and this prediction takes things in a really interesting direction.
It’s hard to variate hoops or stripes in a way which maintains the integrity of the aesthetic, and whilst this particular design would ruffle some feathers, I’d argue that this is a fantastic approach which rises far above the variations we’ve seen for the likes of Juventus and Barcelona in recent seasons.
On the basis of this kit prediction alone, the Flamengo 2021 home shirt is now my most anticipated release of 2021.
Manchester United 2021/22 away shirt prediction - @hendocfc
Manchester United 2021/22 Away Shirt - Prediction*
*graphic based on a very small, very blurry picture of an item from the team's range. Will be updated when I get a clearer look and/or confirmation about it being on the kit. pic.twitter.com/eiGNZjrklI
After multiple teases, United are set to finally embrace the aesthetic of one of their most famous shirts, the 1990/92 away shirt. The best retro-inspired kits do more than just simply remake an old design, and this prediction suggests that we’ll see a more simplified approach to the memorable ‘snowflake’ pattern of the 90s kit.
Though perhaps not as impactful as the old design, the potential new look still has a lot going for it, and after the suggestions that were given from the 2015 third and 2017 away, it’s nice to see United give a more deliberate nod to an all-time great.
Real Madrid 2021/22 away shirt prediction - @hendofc
Though the all over crown pattern is an interesting angle, it feels like a hangover from adidas’ 2020, art-inspired approach. I quite like the orange secondary colour used for the three stripes, and navy as a base colour is very much an option from the Real stable, but the pattern and overall aesthetic doesn’t excite me.
Real have been conservative across the board for a long time, so selfishly I’d love to see a kit like this with more flamboyant uses of the orange. But I’ll lave it to the concept designs to scratch that particular itch of mine.
A huge thank you to Jack Henderson once again for these renders, and a reminder once again to take everything in this article with a pinch of salt!
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The release of Southampton's 2023 home shirt was more than 2 years in the making. Since the announcement of the club's return to hummel in 2021, a remake of The Saints iconic 1987-1989 home was on the cards.
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