There is moderate optimism among FC Barcelona's delegation in Doha, formed by vice-president Manel Arroyo and commercial director Francesco Calvo. They arrived on Wednesday to finish negotiations and reach a final agreement with Qatar Airways, for them to keep sponsoring Barcelona's shirt. SPORT sources say both sides are ready to make the deal and the white smoke is close. A deal up until June 30, 2021 could become a reality in a matter of hours.
Barcelona and Qatar reached an agreement in principle in July 2015, but economic president Javier Faus's draft had to be endorsed and approved by the new board. In the specification, Qatar Airways guaranteed a minimum of 60m euros for the shirt alone, leaving the training gear out of the equation - a further asset for Barcelona to activate. However, in light of recent contracts signed by the world's biggest clubs, Barcelona decided they were not getting value, and so Bartomeu and Arroyo have been seeking a substantial improvement. The final proposal was not ready by the last assembly of socios held in October.
The current contract ends on June 30 and is worth 33m a year with bonus included. Renewing this with another offer from Qatar Airways or a different sponsor, is of vital importance to the club's economics, to keep maintaining excellence throughout. The search for a sponsor to add a surname to the Camp Nou has also begun - they won't be waiting until the place is renovated.