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Scouting

Currently browsing: Scouting
  • 02 Aug 2018

    The overvalued market

    Football, like any other industry, is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Just as Ibiza’s popularity as a holiday destination pushes up the price of a drink on the island, the transfer fees required to acquire footballers is related not just to the quality of players in that market, but how many clubs […]

  • 26 Jul 2018

    Less money mo problems

    When Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo, there probably wasn’t much for their directors to deliberate over. There are only a handful of strikers in world football that could improve their team, and even fewer who could expand their commercial potential. As one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, the search needn’t have been far and […]

  • 19 Apr 2018

    The best player we know

    Imagine the scene. You’ve just announced your new signing. The social media team have outdone themselves with the most creative announcement yet and there are photos of the player holding aloft their new shirt plastered all over twitter. You’re satisfied. Optimism is high for the season ahead, buoyed by your confidence that you have just […]

  • 05 Apr 2018

    The big game error

    After identifying a player that has the potential improve our team, we often want to see how he responds in different circumstances. How does he perform away from home, for example, or in matches where the team is expected to dominate? We often place a lot of value in a player’s ability to step up […]

  • 01 Feb 2018

    The right science

    There is a lot that we can learn from seeing how the same challenges are faced and resolved in a different context. We often look to other industries to identify whether there are any approaches that may be applied to football.

    An asset management company when hiring an fund manager, for example, will seek out a […]

  • 06 Jul 2017

    Finding undervalued talent

    As a football industry we’ve been trying harder and harder in recent years to find ‘undervalued talent’, with mixed success.

    Broadly, there are two approaches we can take. The first is bottom-up; finding traits or actions that our competitors dismiss, but actually tells us more about a player. For example, valuing the quality and quantity of […]

  • 22 Jun 2017

    The challenge of scouting Ajax

    Ajax’s impressive run to the Europa League final alerted clubs across Europe to the potential of the young players in their squad, and suggested to many that they had the temperament as well as the skill to compete in bigger leagues.

    While clubs have access to video as well as the ability to watch Ajax’s players […]

  • 19 May 2017

    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:

    Prioritise breadth: by scouting many players, we reduce the risk of missing out on talent, […]

  • 20 Apr 2017

    Rating our scouts

    Player recruitment is a process that should ideally combine objectivity and subjectivity. Both aspects, however, should regularly come under suitable scrutiny and review: we should question whether we are looking at the right data, and we should question the predictions of our scouts.

    While the former can require detailed statistical checks, the latter needn’t be an […]

  • 12 Jan 2017

    A spike in demand

    The January transfer window is often a period of opportunism and seeking a short-term fix. The ability to bring players in can depend on a whole range of factors, including costs elsewhere in the squad, the seller’s appetite to sell, payment terms, and so on.

    The market conditions play a role, too; it’s useful to know […]