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Currently browsing: Scouting
  • 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 […]

  • 05 Jan 2017

    A little less inefficient

    Just like people tend to believe that the country they live in is better than most, we tend to overestimate the relative strength of our own league, and so overlook transfer targets who could improve our squad. There’s a reason why players bought from strong clubs tend to be more successful at their new club. […]

  • 10 Nov 2016

    How many players do we need?

    Implicit in all the decisions around player trading and youth promotion is a prediction about the depth of squad needed to compete during the season. Some clubs hope to go deep in all competitions, others are content at prioritising the league.

    Given the average footballer’s annual pay is a deeply material cost to the club, it […]

  • 01 Sep 2016

    An avoidable distraction

    September always brings a certain tranquility to the world of football when juxtaposed against the annual melee of deadline day.  As the clock runs down on August, buying clubs rush to bolster their squad while selling clubs look to offload their expensive, unproductive assets.  Indeed, since 2010 a remarkable 18% of business in the Premier […]

  • 18 Aug 2016

    The overrated factor

    With less than two weeks until the transfer window closes, boardrooms are increasingly required to make quick decisions under pressure.

    In this environment, we often try to evaluate complex choices by relying on small pieces of simple information. In some cases, this can be useful – last year we encouraged clubs to ‘make three rules’ as […]

  • 26 Nov 2015

    The next Jamie Vardy

    Jamie Vardy’s record-equalling run of 10 goals in 10 consecutive Premier League matches is a remarkable feat on its own; it’s made all the more astonishing by the fact he was playing in England’s seventh tier just four and a half years ago.His path from the lower leagues to national team starter is therefore making many of us wonder where and how we might find the next Jamie Vardy. Indeed for many in football this is an obssession.
  • 07 May 2015

    What if the manager is asking the wrong questions?

    A recent article by Alex Morgan for Football Everyday covered some of the football-related presentations at the recent Sports Analytics conference in London. The column featured some hitherto unknown titbits of the kind data leading club analysts have at their disposal, including a long and detailed look at the excellent work of Ian Graham at Liverpool FC. For that reason alone, it’s worth your time. 
  • 07 Jan 2015

    Why risk isn’t always the enemy in player recruitment

    Let’s pretend for moment you’re a technical scout, preparing to add to a dossier of reasonable transfer targets for your club to cover the next three seasons. Being an analytics minded person, you are armed in your search with statistics on the effects of age on performance, advanced metrics that measure innate skill in individual players, informal data on player “agreeability”, and filters for realistic transfer fees etc. etc