What should we focus on in order to sign a player?
We need to be very prepared to know what to focus on in order to sign a player. When January arrives and the European winter transfer market opens, the clubs have already evaluated what the first round of the competition has been, and therefore they are in a position to make an assessment about the strengths and needs that the team can have.
This is a period where players are moving all around. Scouters have been watching soccer players from different teams for some time, making reports, balancing accounts and picking up the phone. During this period there is usually more difficulty in signing players than before starting the competition, but these possible signings will be very relevant for what is at stake and because there is no margin for error. You have (need) to get the right player or players.
Given this, it is very important to have a very good knowledge of the game and a strong methodology of player analysis. We can’t analyze a player performance if we don’t know what to look at.
So the key aspects we need to keep in mind to analyze a potential signing is:
1. What’s our team playing style? Be clear about our team’s game model, what needs are identified by the coaching staff, and what’s the player profile in accordance with this. It is a mistake to look at a player who stands out without asking us first if what he gives is really what we need.
2. Team/Club values. It seems silly, but it is super important that the player’s behavior both on and off the field, is in tune with those of the team, both personally and at the playing level. A great distance between the player and the team he arrives at can make the adaptation process very slow and difficult.
3. Have a correct Scouting Methodology. Some scouters or analysts pay close attention to purely statistical aspects, such as the percentage of successful passes, balls recovered, etc. Some others are guided by their instinct or perception of the player, based on their experiences or ways of understanding football.
For MBP, these two different ways are very important and must be valued, but we believe we should not rely solely on them. We rather focus on a qualitative analysis of the player. That is: assess what their behaviors are in each of the game situations that must be resolved at the tactical level, as well as their understanding of the fundamentals of the game, regarding the position he occupies in the field.
To set an example:
– If we analyze a center midfielder, we are not only interested in knowing what percentage of good passes he makes, but also his ability to identify space and depth clearances to deliver passes with an advantage to the teammates who are unmarked in those areas near the goal.
For this reason, we believe it is essential to have a great knowledge of the game to easily identify the situations that occur in each and every one of the phases and moments of the game, to finally assess how the observed players perform.