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Report: Barcelona start negotiations for new kit sponsorship deal

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This would be a BIG deal

FC Barcelona v Sampdoria: Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

After signing a billionaire extension with Nike, Barcelona are now focusing on the other piece of sponsorship.

Diario Sport is reporting that the Blaugrana have kicked off negotiations for a new "master" kit sponsorship, the one that goes in the middle of the shirt, currently owned by Qatar Airways. The Catalan club signed an emergency one-year extension of the old deal with Qatar when they began the season without a sponsor, but they've started talks earlier to avoid the same problem next season.

As of right now, Qatar appear to be the favorites to remain as the main sponsor for the next four seasons, and unlike last year, they now seem interested in increasing their offer to secure the deal. Barça had a big offer from Ferrari during the summer, but there wasn't viable time to sign a contract before the start of the season and the talks stalled. But Ferrari is still interested in becoming Barça's sponsor, and will come with big money again for the next round of talks.

President Josep Bartomeu stays firm at his €60 million per year asking price, which Qatar did not agree to last year. But with the competition from Ferrari on the horizon, Qatar are willing to consider a 4-year, €240 million deal, which would be another piece of genius business by Bartomeu, who somehow convinced Nike to pay over €100 million per year for the next decade — it could be €150 million if Barça win the Champions League.

There will be lots of negotiations until an official agreement is announced, but given Bartomeu's track record of sponsorship business, it's fair to expect Barça to have the richest kit on Earth starting next season.