The Córdoba-based club’s rise to prominence has been rooted in their pioneering use of technology and long-term strategy.
A lot can change in 10 years.
When Andrés Fassi became president in 2014, Talleres were languishing in the third tier of Argentinian football. In the decade since, they have experienced back-to-back promotions, established themselves as regulars in the Primera División, and gone on to consistently challenge for domestic titles and qualify for continental competitions.
A case in point was the recent October international window. Talleres provided the most players to Argentina’s U15 and U17 teams and in September were among the top South American clubs for most senior national team call-ups - yet another marker of just how far they have progressed in a relatively short period of time.
But how have they done it? A clear overriding vision, joined-up thinking throughout the club, and a commitment to innovation and technology, according to Communications and Liaison Manager, Miguel Cavatorta.
“For Talleres, the fundamental values reside in institutionalism, professionalism, and innovation,” says Cavatorta. “This helps consolidate processes and procedures, makes the incorporation of cutting edge technology possible, and at the same time builds multidisciplinary teams that can consolidate data and make complicated decisions with less margin of error.”
“This vision from the leadership and the permanent innovation and investment in sports technology has allowed us to gain a lot of high-quality information regarding our own players, the whole structure of youth football, and to understand the market trends and tendencies within elite football with better clarity.”
Visiting Talleres’ High-performance Sports Centre Amadeo Nucatelli on the outskirts of Córdoba, the dedication to investing in technology is clear to see. Featuring 10 pitches, a state-of-the-art gym, and various performance analysis offices, the centre acts as the base for footballing operations for their men’s, youth, and women’s teams.
Players and coaches from different age groups and teams mix together in the on-site club canteen, and this culture of integration of players and staff is reflected in their approach to technology.
“A distinctive aspect in the application of technology at Talleres is that the same technology that is used for the first team is also used in the youth divisions,” explains Cavatorta. “It allows us to have a complete track record of all of our young players, helping us to better monitor and evaluate each one of them, and, when it comes to making decisions about player pathways, we can be more assertive.”
“An investment, not an expense”
A key component in Talleres’ success is how they have used data and technology in their scouting and recruitment workflows to great effect.
Their 32-person strong scouting department uses Wyscout year-round to identify, monitor, and analyze potential targets.
“In relation to the use of technology in Talleres’ scouting workflow, Hudl has become a central strategic partner,” says Cavatora. “The way you can view so many players in Wyscout across the year is the essential ‘materia prima’ for our team. It allows a lot of quality in the observation phase and better precision in decision making.”
As a result, they boast an enviable track record of shrewd signings across varying markets.
Talleres have plucked young talent from similar sized top flight clubs (Rodrigo Villagra, Ramón Sosa), lured academy talents from Buenos Aires grandes looking for game time (Facundo Medina, Tomás Pochettino, Federico Girotti), and previously recruited well from the second division (Rodrigo Garro, Enzo Díaz).
Their operations are not restricted to the domestic market, and they monitor almost every nation in South America. Recent success stories include Colombian forward Diego Valoyes and promising Ecuadorian centre-back Piero Hincapié, now at Bayer Leverkusen.
“As Talleres scouts in different parts of the world, our biggest ally in scouting is Wyscout,” says scout Santiago Spidalieri. “It’s used in different stages of the process. We use it to watch full matches in various countries, for monitoring individual players and watching their specific actions, which gives us a lot of dynamism and speed when analyzing players, which would be impossible by any other form.”
The importance of scouting to Talleres is explained through the return on investment they have generated, allowing them to fund footballing operations and invest back into the infrastructure of the club.
In the last 7 years, Talleres have brought in more than $81 million from a little over 30 transfers - $61 million of which coming from players scouted and brought to the club. “For us here at Talleres, using technology for scouting is seen as an investment, not an expense,” explains Spidalieri.
The fundamental philosophy of their model is to bring players in, provide a shop window, and sell them on, preferably at a profit.
The club has robust processes in place to ensure that they don’t overspend and go into debt - a rarity in Argentina - and every transfer has to go through a chain of approval, ultimately signed off by the president. Input is sought from scouts, analysts, coaching staff, and the sporting directors, and open, honest debate is encouraged before reaching a decision.
These aligned processes, open communication, and clear goals help Talleres compete with clubs with bigger budgets and resources.
Spidalieri also highlights the need to think outside the box and focus on the details when it comes to recruitment. “You have to be creative. For example, before we signed Kevin Mantilla - a promising Colombia U20 defender - we put together a video showing him Córdoba, the club’s facilities, the amazing support, and where he fits into our ambition so he can envision himself here. It’s important to balance the human side with the economic side.”
Integrated Analysis at Every Level
Talleres have also invested heavily into their high-performance analysis department and use a whole range of Hudl’s ecosystem of products to help them achieve their objectives.
With 10 analysts split across the first team, reserves, and their six youth categories, Talleres ensure that there is continuity and joined-up thinking running throughout the club’s analysis.
“As an area, we look to be a fundamental piece of the club - whether that be for first team, reserves or juveniles,” says first team analyst Cristian del Rio. “We want to be the best analysis team in South America. We have compared ourselves to lots of other clubs, and we think we’re on the right track. The idea is to keep evolving and improving.”
Talleres follow a fixed methodology for their analysis workflows. “From the observation of each game, we go on to undertake an analysis about the distinctive phases of the game to determine the collective and individual patterns,” explains del Rio.
As part of their process, Talleres analysts focus on everything from the attacks, recoveries, and losses of each team, through to set pieces, build up from goal kicks and collective pressing, right the way through to individual analysis of each player in and out of possession.
“The performance analysts present a written report accompanied with video 48 hours after every game to the coaching staff, which allows a permanent interaction between the data and statistics, the information that comes from it, and the decisions that are made”, says Cavatorta.
“Our contribution is to help see what we can improve, what we have to correct, what we are doing well,” says del Rio. “Training sessions will often be modified in relation to the direct feedback given by the analysts.”
When it comes to first-team duties, the analysis team adapts to the specific needs of the coaching staff. Generally speaking, they will focus on four areas: collective and individual team analysis, opposition analysis, live analysis, and training session analysis.
Hudl Sportscode forms a big part of all their analysis workflows, allowing the analysts to customize their coding in relation to the team’s game model, clip up key moments, and send them to an organizer, ready to be uploaded and shared on the Hudl platform.
“It allows us to be ‘closer’ to the player as we can communicate on the platform,’ says del Rio. “All the features in Sportscode allow us to do advanced analysis, be creative, and be more organized.”
Talleres also used Hudl Replay in their live matchday analysis. “We have the camera above, stream it to our computer, and then all the clips and playlists we make during the game are viewed in the dugout by the coaching staff through Replay,’ del Rio explains. “We make decisions during the first half, at half time, and during the second half. It’s all instantaneous."
Wyscout also forms part of opposition analysis, especially ahead of continental ties, while Talleres’ analysis team utilizes Studio to annotate key moments and present important ideas to aid player development. Individual and team reports are then shared via the Hudl platform to initiate discussion of the analysis.
As well as focusing on the granular detail of each match, Talleres takes a holistic approach to the learning and development process of their teams. Every nine games, all the reports are brought together and collated as part of an ongoing evaluation of how the team is performing and meeting targets.
“One of the best contributions that tools of this level give us is how it strengthens the collaborative teamwork, not just in the scouting and analysis but also in the coaching staff, with each player who has their own account where they can interact, analyze errors, and enter in a process of continual improvement,” concludes Cavatorta.
Going into a new season, with another Libertadores campaign in store, the desire for continual improvement and a sense of ambition is palpable.
“Our aim is for Talleres to be a leader in Argentina and the region,” says Cavatorta. “We want to show that Talleres can use innovative tools, be at the vanguard and learn the latest tendencies in the football industry, and compare ourselves at an international standard, allowing us to improve our levels of competitiveness on and off the pitch.”
With a defined long-term strategy, established practices, and commitment to data-driven decisions, Talleres looks well-placed to continue punching above their weight for the next 10 years and beyond.