How Monchi and Sevilla FC Use Data in Scouting

How Monchi and Sevilla FC Use Data in Scouting

In part two of this three part series, Sevilla direc­tor of foot­ball Monchi talks us through scout­ing pro­files for poten­tial trans­fer tar­gets and also the impact of data on scout­ing processes. 

Read in Spanish 🇪🇸


A suc­cess­ful direc­tor of foot­ball such as Monchi hangs his hat on the qual­i­ty of acad­e­my play­ers that grad­u­ate into the Sevilla first team, or the amount of suc­cess­ful or prof­itable trans­fers the clubs makes. A key force behind all of these suc­cess­es is data, a resource that is becom­ing increas­ing­ly cru­cial for clubs at all lev­els of football. 

Data in scouting 

Data is key, right? It’s fun­da­men­tal,” said Monchi. We always had data, before it was small data and today is big data. In the year 2000, when I start­ed, there was only one form of data. It was a Word doc­u­ment where the scout used to put It’s a good play­er, etc’, and that was the data. Nowadays, thanks to plat­forms like Wyscout, we have plat­forms where we can man­age our data.”

Monchi has now intro­duced an R&D depart­ment to Sevilla, with math­e­mati­cians, physi­cists, spe­cial­ized engi­neers and ana­lysts employed at the Andalusian club. This was unthink­able until five years ago, incon­ceiv­able,” said Monchi. But this is the future. That is, the data analy­sis and the imple­men­ta­tion of this analy­sis in the deci­sion-mak­ing process is key.”

Commitment to using dig­i­tal plat­forms for video and data analy­sis in sport is now seen as vital to gain­ing a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage, Monchi and Sevilla strong­ly agree in the pow­er of video and data in foot­ball. Those who turn their back to data will lag behind,” explains Monchi. In the future, clubs will sign play­ers, man­agers, math­e­mati­cians and physi­cists, engi­neers and ana­lysts. We’re already doing it. In this depart­ment, we’re work­ing to cre­ate our own plat­form to analyse data. There are peo­ple that don’t know about foot­ball, but they know about data.”

Now in his second term as sports director at Sevilla, Monchi has assumed office for a total of more than 17 years.

Implementation of video and data

But how does data gen­er­at­ed from Sevilla’s R&D depart­ment trans­late to actu­al tac­ti­cal insights? To under­stand this, one must under­stand the dif­fer­ence between objec­tive and sub­jec­tive data. 

What we’re try­ing to do is to match them up, to com­bine two types of analy­sis,” said Monchi. On one side, the objec­tive data, and on the oth­er side, the sub­jec­tive analy­sis of video. We’re try­ing to work with both tools, try­ing to achieve per­fec­tion, that would be the sub­jec­tive analy­sis to ful­ly match the objec­tive analy­sis. To do this, we’re train­ing our scouts. What are we try­ing to do? We’re try­ing to char­ac­terise, typ­i­fy all posi­tions on the pitch in order to then mea­sure them, pos­si­bly with the mea­sure used by video ana­lysts being the same used by data analysts.”

Those who turn their back to data will lag behind. In the future, clubs will sign play­ers, man­agers, math­e­mati­cians and physi­cists, engi­neers and analysts.” - Monchi

A quick com­par­i­son between fruit allows us to under­stand the next lev­el of objec­ti­fy­ing video and data analy­sis. The impor­tant thing is to mea­sure apples here and apples there,” said Monchi. If we mea­sure bananas on one side and apples on the oth­er, things will get com­pli­cat­ed. We’re objec­ti­fy­ing video analy­sis, that is the most sub­jec­tive one. Ultimately, data is 100% objec­tive, it only looks at per­cent­ages. So, we’re doing a good job. We’re still in an inter­me­di­ate phase, but I think that we will man­age to have a plat­form that will give us a lot, it will save us time, save us mon­ey, and reduce risks.”

Monchi poses with the Europa League trophy, one of 11 trophies won during his tenure with the Rojiblancos.

Long term vs short term 

Using data analy­sis cor­rect­ly can pro­vide insights and met­rics that are very help­ful in scout­ing play­ers and iden­ti­fy­ing trans­fer tar­gets. Sevilla have a great track record of buy­ing and devel­op­ing tal­ent at a bar­gain price, Monchi goes on to explain the pow­er of a long term strat­e­gy such as this. 

The long term allows you to dom­i­nate the short term,” said Monchi. Let me explain. When you work glob­al­ly, you work with all posi­tions and with all pro­files, as we work. Our work is not What do we need this year?’ A right-wing, a defen­sive mid­field­er and a strik­er. Let’s work on these three posi­tions.” No, we work on all eleven posi­tions on the pitch and each of them with dif­fer­ent profiles. 

On one side, the objec­tive data, and on the oth­er side, the sub­jec­tive analy­sis of video. We’re try­ing to work with both tools, try­ing to achieve per­fec­tion, that would be the sub­jec­tive analy­sis to ful­ly match the objec­tive analysis.”

Right-wing, left-wing, more offen­sive, more defen­sive. So, this base knowl­edge, this infor­ma­tion, allows you to react in the short term. Why? Imagine that next sum­mer we don’t think we’ll need to buy a cen­tre-back, ok? Because we have Diego Carlos, we have Koundé, we have Sergi Gómez, Gnagnon will be back, we have Kjaer. We won’t need to sign cen­tre-backs, ok? But all of a sud­den, some­body comes and pay Koundé’s release clause. Of course, if you didn’t work glob­al­ly you may find your­self with­out scout­ed cen­tre-backs. The long term work allows you to act in the short term.”

Monchi cites two key exam­ples to solid­i­fy Sevilla’s long term scout­ing strat­e­gy. Julien Escudé, we signed him back in 2005, when we signed him he wasn’t play­ing, he was out of the team, but we knew him already,” explains Monchi. Kanouté, when we signed him, he wasn’t play­ing at Tottenham, he was Mido’s reserve, he wasn’t play­ing, but we knew him from his pre­vi­ous clubs. So, the abil­i­ty to react in the short term is giv­en by your long term work.”


Part 3 of this series focus­es on how Covid-19 has affect­ed European foot­ball, and Monchi’s take on how foot­ball may resume in the major leagues of Europe.