Data Analytics is starting to play an important role in player transfers and contract negotiations. Football is just one example
Former Manchester United star Memphis Depay left the club in 2017 after only two seasons. Louis Van Gaal, had brought him to United from PSV Eindhoven. He couldn’t meet the lofty expectations placed on him by the renowned No. 7 shirt and decided to leave the club in search of greater success.
Memphis used sports data analytics to help him decide where his next move would be.
Using data analytics, Depay was able to make an informed decision on which team to join. Inquiries were made to Giels Brouwer, the founder of SciSports, an analytics and data intelligence company.
Scisports met Memphis in Manchester, where he was at the time. They watched a Champions League match there with his team. He expressed his desires and dissatisfactions about the next stage in his career during the conversation. Known for his creativity, he wanted to pay more freely and be a vital cog In the team. He also wanted a coach with a clear playing style and a club in the European League.
Scisports analysed the data to find answers to Memphis’s requirements. They contrasted his style of playing at PSV and the Dutch national side with Manchester United, where they observed he was doing a lot more defensive work.
They looked for teams who didn’t have their star player at ‘left wing’ or ‘left forward’ so that Memphis’s importance would be more. When it came to playing style, they looked at things like passing and transition speed as well as the use of the flanks and defensive line-height. For Memphis, playing style and development mattered more than financial gain.
They sent a “Transfer Success Report” that listed Lyon as one of five possible destinations for a player with his skill sets. The report included an in-depth analysis of various criteria, including the style of play of teams and managers, the competition in Memphis’ preferred positions, and other important factors.
Depay has been a revelation at Lyon!
Kevin De Bruyne used the expertise of Analytics FC while negotiating a new deal with Manchester City.
Without the help of an agent, the midfielder signed a deal worth £83 million. However, He was helped by Atfield and Roc Nation (Jay-Z is a founder)
Analytics FC reported on his current and future performances and value to the squad, as well as a comparison of his salary with that of other top offensive midfielders around the world. That indicated that he was paid much less than the others.
Jeremy Steele, a former scout for West Ham and Brentford B coach, started Analytics FC. He came up with TransferLab, a piece of recruiting software backed by an algorithm that figures out how much a player can contribute.
The algorithm calculates the impact a player has had on his or her team’s chances of scoring or conceding goals based on a wide range of criteria, such as expected goals and expected assists. The worth of this contribution can then be compared to other players in the same age group and position from various leagues across the world.
Aside from his contributions to the team, Kevin De Bruyne wanted them to look at the team’s future success prospects and how well Manchester City is currently set up to compete in the years to come given the team’s current age and talent.
The report showed that MCFC was the best for him.
Professional soccer players are “a kind of independent entrepreneur and have to think about the path they’re following, even throughout their active career,” Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff remarked in September 2017. “Is a chef or a physiotherapist on the list of possible hires? Individuals need to decide how best to market themselves. What are their routines like?” Being able to connect with other young entrepreneurs who are willing to take a chance and follow their path is critical.
As more and more of the sport is driven by data analysis than ever before, I wonder if other players will follow suit in the future when deciding on a transfer.