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Restructure scouting

nestor on 20 July, 2018

Some of the guys who are following my #FMSlack channel might have already noticed, that at the time I released the blog post about managing expectations I wasn’t managing Valencia anymore. Sorry for all the confusions I've caused! Actually, I left Valencia after the second seasons with a surprising double, including league title and the Spanish cup. I managed to overcome a weak FC Barcelona, who managed to score only 84 points out of the 38 games to finish second. Crazy to believe that 92 points didn’t suffice to win the title with Valencia in the first year, but 86 points did one year later. Strange right? But nevertheless we were happy with the win

After that amazing achievement, I decided to join the french powerhouse PSG to celebrate the treble there in first season. After that successful season a job offer a Bayern Leverkusen appeared. A club that always has tempted me to manage: solid finances, good first teamers and an excellent youth academy. And what made it even better is that the usual league contenders Bayern Munich was really struggling in the league.

In fact I really enjoyed the time in Germany, managing to win seven straight league titles, one EURO Cup and one UCL in the first season. Besides that, an incredible amount of quality players moved from the youth academy to the first team. I still dream from these amazing newgens that joined me each season through the youth intake! But after failing to get some decent results in the continental competitions, mainly failing against the clubs from the EPL I decided I was up for something new. With the two Steam achievements about promotions („National Hero“ & „You’re Up“) still not completed I decided to look for a lower league club to manage.

Luckily, Mallorca had just failed to win the promotion playoffs from the Segunda Division B3 to the Segunda Division, due to that results they were not to happy with their current manager. I clicked on „Show interest in Job“ and he’s fired a couple days later and the way was free for me to take over the club from the Spanish island.

To be fair, promotion from the Spanish 3rd tier is quite difficult to achieve as there’s no automatic promotion, as a total of 4 divisions (B1 - B4) get awarded only 4 spots in the second tier. So even, if we’d finish 1st we would need to play a playoff tie. That’s also they way Mallorca failed to secure promotion in the last season. (If you’re interested in reading stories about promotion from the Spanish 3rd tier, I can recommend you to read the book about the magical story of Eibar „Eibar the Brave: The extraordinary Rise of La Liga’s smallest team“).

But we did not struggle at all - Two seasons later, after two consecutive promotions we found ourselves in the first division. What a dream, Steam achievements completed! The dream even continued in the first season, being clearly the overachievers of the season, the Mallorca team managed to finish 3rd, just behind Barcelona & Real Madrid in the first season in the Spanish top tier. 3 years from playing in the San Moix against teams like Levante B, LLagostera, Hospitalet or Alicante.

All this years I have left almost all the duties to my Director of Football, except the negotiation of new contracts as I wanted to keep that under my control, as I experienced it quite often that he gave the players overpaid contracts. But all other duties, like signing players and staff was done by my Director of Football. Scouting was managed completely by chief scout, only filtered to just look for young players.

Less outsourcing

I was kind of using the 4-hrs-workweek approach to leave all the work, or most of it, to my co-workers, but when I had to register my players for the UCL in the 4th season I knew that this couldn’t go on like that anymore. I had 0 (zero !!) players (of 4 needed) homegrown at Mallorca, which allowed me to register only 21 players for my first continental competition. A change was much needed here!

Investing in the future: To be fair, I decided not to invest into youth facilities and youth recruitment when we were down in the lower leagues, as I thought reputation was anyhow to low to attract players, that were talented enough and the investments would had a much greater impact if we’d use it directly for the first team, but with the huge tv money from the national and continental tv deals there’d plenty of cash on the bank available and the return of investment in the youth facilities could be much greater now.

Changes in the scouting department: In order to build up a successful academy in a quite short time, we couldn't just rely on our on players that would come through the yearly youth intake. I also had in mind to revamp the scouting department to get lots of reports about players around the world, who were at max 18y years old, so that they could still qualify as a HGN player in a reasonable future. But I realized that the way the Director of Football was signing Scouts and the Chief Scout was setting the assignment all this players I wanted to sign where going to other teams, and that even with 18 scouts allowed by our board. In general the DoF signed Scouts whose regional Knowledge was mostly limit to Spain and the "Potential Ability" rating were quite low (below 15).

Keeping in my mind to have something similar like the scouting network Red Bull has in place at Leipzig, I offloaded most of the Scouts, I was unhappy with and filled the positions with scouts that had at at least a rating of 15 on jugging the potential ability of a player. Of course I couldn't just sign, whatever scout I wanted, especially all the ones contracted at one of the big english clubs had obviously no interests in joining us.

knowlegde.png

That resulted in scouts joining me with a good knowledge in the following regions/countries: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Scandinavia & Eastern Europe. As a next step I set assignments for all scouts in their favorite Region with the following Parameters: Ongoing and Hot Prospect

assignment.png

I would have loved to have one or more scouts from Africa as the registration rules in La Liga is quite favorable of players from that Region, but there weren't really scouts with a proper knowledge from that area , who were good enough in judging players. In general I also opted against scouting the UK, Asia, Oceania and North America at all because most of the players would have caused troubles when needing registration for the La Liga squad, as only 3 non-EU players are allowed.

Results

And my strategy actually worked! FINALLY I was getting lots of promising reports in the scouting centre, obviously I decided to sign couple of them in the last 2 years after updating the scouting scheme but were did we find them?

Country Amount of signed players
Portugal 5
Spain 3
Brazil 3
Ecuador 2
Croatia 2
Romania 2
Serbia 2
Argentina 2
Austria 2
Holland 1
Italy 1
Norway 1
Switzerland 1
Ivory Coast 1
Czech Republic 1
Belgium 1

So currently I am quite happy with my scouting setup, most of the scouts provide some good reports. I can sign lots of promising youngster who'll be pushing for the first team in a couple of years (or even earlier). Especially with the players I snapped from Portugal and East Europe I am really happy, lots of cheap and amazing players. Personally I would have expected a bit more from Scandinavia tho, but we'll see what the future holds. Anyhow, pass by Slack channel #nestorsubiat for some screenshots of this amazing newgens in the near future :)

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