Barcelona, Clubs, Story

Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde laughed off talk that Atletico Madrid and Valencia already dropping points is crucial in the title race.

Barcelona have appointed a television presenter as a scout as part of their continued recruitment drive in France.

Jerome Bigot joins the La Liga champions on a three-year deal and will be primarily responsible for scouting players in the French league.

However, he will also use his expertise in Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic to advise Barca on up-and-coming talent in those countries as well.

Bigot joins the Catalan club at the recommendation of new sporting director Eric Abidal after the two struck up a relationship while working together on BeIn France.

Abidal first appeared as an analyst on the network during Euro 2016 and then went on to hold a semi-regular spot on Champions League nights.

Chiefly a presenter of Ligue 1 football on BeIn, Bigot worked as the tactics expert on the shows Abidal featured on.

The former France international was impressed by the depth of the presenter’s knowledge and a relationship between the two blossomed, leading to this week’s appointment.

Bigot was part of Nantes’ academy in France as a youngster but he never reached a professional level as a footballer and it was on television where he subsequently made his name.

People who have worked with Bigot and know him well described him to ESPN FC as “respectful, loyal and a good professional.”

He will leave his role at BeIn to focus fully on his new job at Barcelona, where the club hope he will help them spot the future stars of French football.

Barcelona have grown increasingly interested in the French market following the production of a generation of talent which saw Les Bleus win the World Cup this summer.

One of the reasons Abidal replaced Robert Fernandez earlier this year was to help the club expand their links in France.

Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembele and Clement Lenglet are the French players currently at Camp Nou, while Lucas Digne left for Everton in July.

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