The airline, which is already the official low-cost carrier for the English champions, is exploring several other ways to tie up with the football club.
AirAsia's chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandez flew to London last night to meet United's commercial director Richard Arnold.
According to Fernandez, talks between the two parties are at a “pretty advanced stage”, but they are unlikely to include a shirt deal.
With AIG's four-year £56.5 million (RM295 million) shirt deal expiring next year, one of the world's top sports sponsorships is up for grabs.
But Fernandez told The Straits Times yesterday that United's asking price is “just too big” for his airline.
He said: “Whether that kind of money will deliver returns for me, in the present state of my airline — I don't think we're a big enough brand for that.
“You need a global brand to maximise that kind of value.”
Aside from its United connection, AirAsia also sponsors EPL referees.
A future collaboration may include packaging air tickets to Manchester with match tickets to Old Trafford.
Despite the economic gloom, Fernandez is going big on sports. The entrepreneur is the chairman of Singapore basketball franchise the Singapore Slingers, as well as the inaugural Asean Basketball League, which starts in September.
Since the league's launch in January, 14 investors and companies have expressed interest in buying franchise licences.
But it will not be cheap. Owners must put up a bank guarantee of at least US$1 million (RM3.7 million), as well as S$500,000 (RM1.2 million) in paid-up capital.
Organisers are looking to field two teams each from Indonesia and the Philippines, with Malaysia and Thailand offering one each.
The Slingers, who pulled out of Australia's National Basketball League last year, are expected to represent Singapore.Under league rules, each team can hire two international players, two from Southeast Asia, one with a parent from Asean and seven locals.