Catalunya Radio announced on Wednesday night that the club are negotiating with pharmaceutical giant Grifols over a deal that would go some way to pay for the club’s stadium renovation and Lionel Messi’s new contract.
Grifols is based in Barcelona and is on the Spanish stock exchange top 35 of listed companies. Barca hope to sign a deal in the new year after putting the proposal to supporters.
With a €600m (£535m) bill to pay for the renovation of the Nou Camp and surrounding areas — and the on-going struggle to pay the wage-bill — the deal will be a massive coup for president Josep Bartomeu.
A third of the money needed to fund stadium building work needs to come from sponsorship and Grifols’ deal would more than cover it, leaving the club with the remaining €400m (£356m) to raise from loans and other income.
Messi’s ‘signing bonus’ for staying at Barcelona is understood to be as high as €90m (£80m). A special report in Catalan paper Ara has claimed Barcelona’s wage bill stands at around €479m (£427m) and is 84 per cent of their overall revenue with Messi’s contract sweetener not included in that figure.
Barca are also hopeful of announcing a new Nike deal next year and they are looking for a sponsor for their training kit.
Work on the new Nou Camp is not scheduled to start until 2019 but the stadium is likely to already have a new name before building work begins. US company Van Wagner had been assigned the job of studying the field of potential sponsors.
The US are pioneers in the field of stadium sponsorship. If Barcelona get the Grifols deal over the line the final fee will rival the record $400m 35-year deal the New York Jets and the New York Giants agreed with insurance firm Metlife in 2011.