Talent scouting before the data revolution, seen in perspective, seems another world. A club’s technical secretariat used to hire scouts who could travel to watch matches in the leagues that were most interesting in terms of their ability to produce talent and economic potential. The options were very limited and the development of football was going very fast, which made it necessary to focus on leagues that were not interesting before. You couldn’t reach everything.
Now, investing in a good scouting department and a good data department is a crucial part of the club concept in many instances, with both being key players in attracting talent as a method of investment. Data has evolved in both coverage and depth: each search can be done with as many filters as you want, the filters return specific players, analysis and monitoring refines the candidates and the decision to sign, once players are watched on video, reduces uncertainty with a high percentage of efficiency.
We are in an era where data scouting and scouting platforms make the difference for countless clubs, and where investments can increase in value by a factor of ten to twenty times in just two to three years of player development. Victor Osimhen’s journey since his arrival at Wolfsburg is a case in point.
Victor Osimhen: Capital gain of 36.5 million + 15% of future sale for Charleroi
(Wolfsburg – Charleroi – Napoli)
The African continent, with its low acquisition cost and huge room for improvement, is a great opportunity for many clubs. With a certain guarantee, the landing of African players arrives first of all in secondary leagues in Europe, where they will have their first professional stage. To control this first step of African players to leagues where young talent is at stake (Denmark, Norway, Belgium) is easy and straightforward with a good data network. Charleroi signed him from Wolfsburg for 3.5 million euros, sold him for 40 million euros and secured 15% of the future sale of the Nigerian if he leaves Napoli for the Premier League or a big European club this summer.
Luis Sinisterra: Feyenoord’s 23 million euro capital gain
Once Caldas – Feyenoord – Leeds United
Another very good example of scouting is Luis Sinisterra, acquired by Feyenoord after watching his Apertura 2018 and his performance at the U20 World Cup 2019, where he was one of the most outstanding players. The Dutch side paid 2 million for him and sold him, a year later, for 25 million to Leeds United.
Ousmane Diomande: a diamond for 7.5 million paid by Sporting de Portugal
(Midtjylland – loan Mafra – Sporting de Portugal)
Ousmane Diomande has already made himself a Sporting starter after his arrival in January. Without making his debut in Midtjylland’s first team, the Ivorian left on loan to Mafra, where he surprised the whole Portuguese championship with his extraordinary potential, being, at the moment, the best centre-back in the main European leagues in the “Construction xG” metric, which gives importance to players who initiate or participate in possessions that end in a shot. His quality on the ball and physical potential should bring Sporting a huge amount of money over the next two or three summers. Player only 19 years old.
Rasmus Hojlund: 15 million plus value for Sturm Graz in less than one year
(Copenhagen – Sturm Graz – Atalanta)
The story of Rasmus Hojlund is the example of a dazzling career. With five goals in the 2021/22 Conference League, Sturm Graz signed him at the age of 17 for only 2 million euros, only to sell him for 17 million euros to Atalanta after his rapid emergence in the Austrian league.
Jhon Duran: 15 million in added value for Chicago Fire
(Envigado – Chicago Fire – Aston Villa)
MLS is becoming an emerging championship in talent scouting. Its way of capturing promising players from South American leagues is attracting more and more players and, therefore, scouts from other parts of the world, not only because of its economic capacity in terms of salary, but as a consistent step in the development of talent as a stepping stone to a big European league. Chicago Fire saw the finishing and physical potential of Colombian Jhon Duran, a player from Aston Villa after paying more than 16 million euros.
All of these players were featured in searches for precocious talents who excelled in their respective leagues. Driblab has developed a number of different scouting and detection tools to find those players who stand out and make an interesting investment in the highly competitive world of football. Among our consultancy services, we have a player location methodology. A small sample is this Declan Rice location video report.
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We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in the statistical analysis of players and teams; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 200,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.