Scouting is an activity that exist since we knew football but in recent years had a great visibility due to the phenomenon of social networks.
Since the early 2000s several companies have identified a gap in the market and have produced tools to respond to club needs with player databases, statistics and videos on a global scale. This allowed to combine the new technologies with the growth in the scouting area. Today tools like InStat, WyScout, Scout7 allow clubs to have immediate access to information from all players in the World.
Embracing new technology is vital for clubs that want to succeed. Some clubs are still unfortunately driven by agents and not as proactive. In this fast-changing industry, clubs with a forward-thinking are generally towards the top of the table and more willing to achieve their goals.
Technologies are reaching the football market very quickly. There is a wave of new companies that use data intelligence to understand football with the goal of improving the game and enriching the experience of billions of fans around the globe. Science is supporting football and both fields are working closely to improve the football area with new features and data that can turn the analysis and scouting area more detailed and completed for every intervenient.
The development of statistical analysis in football and its role in buying players has greatly evened the scouting area. With the software’s mentioned above, clubs invest now in small teams of analysists to look and extract huge amount of data to get the crucial information regarding players.
Investment vs Cost
For many clubs, scouting is still seen as an unprofitable area. They are still dependent on opinions and suggestions of agents.
However, the financial environment makes it difficult for teams without great power to compete for the best players. For that reason, smaller clubs do this by engendering a level of astuteness in their player acquisition and scouting. This is the best strategy to compensate their financial disadvantage.
In the near past, clubs spent huge amount of money in scouting networking to cover their main markets. Now the necessary information is available for everyone which means that teams are able to acquire players who are not just talented but can fit their specific model and improve the whole team.
Risk and context are two concepts that we should consider. Smaller clubs are not able to pay large sums of money to buy a player which means that the risk if very high for these types of teams. There is a no risk tolerance as they are not willing to spend their budget in a player that will not fit and adapt to their context.
When it comes to transfers, the bigger sides may be reluctant to sign players from lower divisions based on perceived lower quality. This is a huge opportunity for smaller clubs to invest in their scouting department with analysts/scouts and platforms that help them to identify and sign players that can create value to their own team and then generate profit when they moved to a bigger club. This could be the perfect approach to balance the gap between the teams. In order to do that, clubs need to look into scouting areas as an investment instead of cost. This will help them to achieve the next level and reach their goals in a short-term perspective.
Scouts perform a meticulous job every day. They need to plan, do and review their player analysis and observe the player in different context before making a decision or write the final consideration.
Nowadays the reports are very common to all the clubs and scouts. Most of the scouts divide the analysis in four phases: Technical/Tactical, Physiological, Physical and Social.
As a scout your job is to identify player potential and you need to establish the standard of the player, compare this to others in their current group and compare this to other in a professional group. With these 3 characteristics you will be able to perform a detailed report and confirm if the player has the necessary requirements to be signed.
If we are talking about scouting in youth formation it is hard to predict if a player can reach a high level of success due to several external factors but it is important to aggregate the analysis with all the information that we can use from the software´s to reduce the risk of the signing. At this level the most important decision is to see and arrive first. You need to be aware of that because you could miss the next big star of football. The timing is very important and clubs should invest in the scouting network so they can cover all the areas and make sure that they can scout in a proactive and organized way.
In the end, chairmen may come and go, managers may come and go and the same for the scouts but the new technologies are here to stay as part of this scouting revolution. They will keep increasing their importance and be a very good complement for the traditional scouting services.
Clubs should take this into consideration and optimize their budget for the scouting department with new scouts and software’s that can help them to improve and reach the desired level. Keep in mind, scouting is an investment and not a cost!
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