As global demand for playing talent has increased so too has the costs of player trading.
As FIFA’s Global Transfer Market Report 2020 shows below, between 2016 and 2018 there was a year on year increase in the total transfer fees paid totaling $2.63bn USD. Whilst 2020 was impacted by the global pandemic (decrease in the total spend by $1.72bn USD), FIFA found there was still a high number of player transfers. Meaning the demand for identifying talent remains constant.
Traditionally, teams would blend intermediary recommendations with expert opinion from Scouts who travelled tirelessly to discover players. Today, there is an increased urgency to find players before a competitor and a wider range of countries and competitions where talent can be found.
Technology is now used by teams across all levels to overcome these fundamental coverage challenges. However, the application of technology wildly differs and it is those high performing organisations that have found a way to blend traditional scouting methods with technology that are having the most success. They also create space to adapt to the changing landscape, for example, the Governing Body Endorsement points system introduced post Brexit in the UK.
To learn more about market-leading best practices for high performance workflows based on these key global trends and more, download our new eBook - High Performance Workflows.
Over the last 12 months Hudl has listened to our customers in over 6,000 meetings all around the world with CEO’s, Sporting Directors, Heads of Recruitment, Head Coaches and Analysts. With this plus the collective experience of our Hudl Pro Services team, the flow diagram (below) is a representation of current best practice when Scouting and Recruiting a player.
The best organizations also understand the fluid nature of player recruitment in football and use this type of structure to quickly assess players whose situations change during the transfer window.
As Forbes wrote in 2018, “The ability to capitalize on data insights and analytics can make or break a company. And big data, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics have every organization scrambling for an advantage—or fearing disruption.”
In 2021 this trend has taken hold in sport organizations. High Performance teams are creating a ‘sandbox’ environment, summarised in Figure 1, that blends User Generated (U), Licensed (L) and Acquired (A) data into one place.
They ID match players and teams for these multiple sources to create a single ‘golden record’ for players and teams.
This delivers significant efficiencies in time and budget required to generate decision support tools, either via private websites or business intelligence software to answer performance questions from subject matter experts and key decision makers. This started in player scouting and recruitment and has moved into most areas of the football business model.
Those who turn their back to data will lag behind. In the future, clubs will sign players, managers, mathematicians and physicists, engineers and analysts.
Case Study: The Scouting Philosophy of Monchi
Sevilla Director of Football Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, better known as Monchi, was given two objectives by the Rojiblancos board. Develop the club’s youth system, and implement a vast scouting policy inside and outside Spain.
Monchi’s first strategic move was to professionalise the academy and focus more on player development, rather than purely on results.
During his time with Sevilla, Monchi discovered future international Spanish stars such as Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas and Jose Antonio Reyes, while also finding a number of profitable bargains in the form of Adriano, Julio Baptista, Ivan Rakitic and Seydou Keita.
Learn more about Monchi’s scouting strategy and how we uses data in recruitment in our three-part series with the Sevilla Director of Football.