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The breadth-depth compromise

In an ideal world we would scout every footballer on the planet and have full knowledge of each player’s suitability for our club. However, limited resources mean we have to strike a compromise between the breadth and depth of our search:

  1. Prioritise breadth: by scouting many players, we reduce the risk of missing out on talent, but this might mean we make poor decisions based on limited information.
  2. Prioritise depth: by being more selective about the players, teams and leagues we scout we gain a deep understanding of the suitability of these players, but risk missing out on some talent.

This problem is illustrated below, with Club A striking a balance between the two.


Smarter tools can – for any given breadth of search – increase the depth with which you can assess potential signings. This might include having a better understanding of what is important for success in their league, meaning that due diligence can focus on clear, specific factors around the player.

Club A can also reduce the chances of missing out on a player. Say they only have the resources to watch 300 players to a certain level of detail in any given season. Smarter information around search – such as knowing which teams or competitions produce suitable players for their league – means they can increase their effective breadth of search as they have fewer unsuitable players on their radar.

Both the thought of a bad signing and of missing out on a player are powerful forces when we make decisions around the allocation of resources in player recruitment. While the risk of both will never be fully eliminated, smarter tools can make us more efficient in both the search and due diligence process.

About Omar Chaudhuri

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