Inverted full-backs for less than 6 million euros

Category: Team Analysis

We initiated a search for full-backs with midfield potential across multiple metrics selected from our database.

Published:10/08/2023

I suppose that at some point you will have seen a similar formation to this in the last few years in some professional football league. And surely the fans of the 1950s saw it too, when the 2-3-5, the famous inverted pyramid, was also a tactical formation at the base of the tactical currents of the time. A system which, as was also the case more than 60 years ago, often became a 3-2-2-3, the main novelty of which was the addition of a full-back in midfield. As when something innovative or cyclical that is successful generates a trend, concepts emerge. That’s why it’s common to hear it referred to as inverted fullback.

If the fullback is asked to take on much more offensive responsibilities than decades ago, nowadays it is common that in addition to being an offensive player they know how to keep the ball in their possession, help to build possessions, defend with the ball and organise the game by moving the ball forward. And that is already a role on the pitch and, therefore, parameterisable with a good database.

Inverted full-backs for less than 6 million euros

For this very specific search, and in order not to find top level players, we set a maximum market value of 6 million euros and try to find profiles both in Europe and South America, using important filters to be able to play more inside, contribute and participate in safe and danger-generating possessions. To do this, we choose the following metrics to add, with demanding maximum and minimums to help us find players with a lot of ability:

  • Ball retention in the opponent’s half
  • Bad actions in own half
  • xG Build up
  • xG Build up in Team
  • Ball progression
  • Short passes succesful
  • Forward per backward passes
  • Ball progression by passing

In all of these metrics we have used demanding values, which not many can meet. In addition, all players on the roster have met the values for all metrics, without exception.

Sometimes the collective style of the team can have a lot to do with the performance of certain players in some metrics, as in the case of Toulouse’s full-backs, a team that is very hard-working in aspects such as ball delivery and playmaking. Mikkel Desler and Gabriel Suazo feature prominently in the search.

Two very interesting examples in America are Valentín Barco and Diego Palacios, the former ending his contract in 2024 and the latter in 2023. Two very good options to add nuances. The Argentinian is one of the great sensations of the Copa Libertadores, playing as a real playmaker, in addition to his extraordinary ability to cross into the box (50% of crosses completed in Copa Libertadores).

Founded in 2017 as a consultancy, Driblab has driven innovation through data in all aspects of professional football. Thanks to a transversal model, its database collects and models statistics in all directions. From converting matches and videos into bespoke data for training academies to developing cutting-edge technology, helping clubs, federations and representative agencies in talent scouting and transfer markets. Driblab’s smart data is used by clubs all over the world, with success stories such as Dinamo Zagreb, Real Betis and Girondins Bordeaux among others. Here you can find out more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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