Getting it right when it comes to signing a player is very easy if you have a large amount of human resources (to control the evolution of many players in many countries) and economic resources (so that the price of the chosen player is not a problem). Elite teams usually get it right when they sign players as proven as Casemiro, Mané, Lewandowski, Antony, Dybala, Haaland or Nuno Mendes.
In this article, though, we are not going to focus on this segment, but on the rest of the clubs, which we will divide into two categories. On the one hand, the clubs that compete in the first division and second division leagues, that do not have access to international competitions and on the other hand, the professional or semi-professional clubs that do not compete in the highest national categories.
Most professional clubs do not belong to the elite (the select group of those who compete in international competitions every year). We are talking about approximately 75% of the first and second division clubs. They are often historic clubs, located in large cities, with a notable social mass and whose main objective is to maintain their positions in the highest tiers. These clubs usually have tight technical structures, relatively small scouting departments and budget constraints when it comes to signing players.
From our point of view, these are the clubs where it is most difficult to carry out scouting processes. In the first place, because it is necessary to have talented players to compete in the highest categories. Secondly, because if any of those who belong to the club, manage to perform at a high level, they will go to a bigger club. Finally, because they do not have access to the players who are performing the best in the highest categories (because those players will also go to the elite clubs). In other words, these clubs have to identify players who are one step below the current level of performance or category and make a bet based on the performance that they are expected to have in a very short period of time – one or two years.
This is where selection criteria should come into play. Each club should determine performance indicators (including technical, tactical, physical, social skills and abilities, etc.) for each position based on their style and game model. These indicators should have two levels of evaluation. At the first level, metrics should be built and used from the algorithmic combination of data offered by specialized companies. This is, Big Data.