The right information
In the final stages of the transfer window, where we might have three or four options to pursue, we are often faced with a deluge of information. It’s the result of days, weeks, and months of data and anecdotes collected from scouts, analysts, and external sources like the media.
Imagine, for example, that these are some of the main facts you can remember about a potential signing, as you prepare to make a decision on him:
- He is a 27-year-old centre back
- He is from Southern Europe
- He has experience playing for the best clubs in weaker leagues, but no experience in our league
- He is, by all accounts, a down-to-earth character, and is married with one child
- He wins 62% of aerial contests and has a forward pass completion rate of 84%
- He has scored 5 goals this season
- He has played more than 80% of minutes in the last three seasons
- He is in the top 20% for distance covered for centre backs
- His agent has another client who was once a success at our club
- His younger brother is performing well in our country in the next division down
- Due to a lack of competition, the wages he will demand will be less than our other centre backs
Ultimately we have to boil this information down into a prediction: will this player be a success or a failure at our club? The issue is that when held all at once, it is difficult to determine what information is a) important, b) not important and c) missing. This is not a mental process that is easily done at the calmest of times, let alone the final week of a transfer window.
Therefore explicit processes that red flag and weight factors to quantify the risk associated with a transfer are essential. Ongoing research can educate us about blind spots, as well alert us to other data we should collect and analyse, too.
Information can be signal or noise; it helps to know which is which.