Analytics FC in the Media: The Coaching Market and Player Power in Transfers

Sky Sports has continued its excellent ‘Future of Football’ series and Senior Football Journalist Peter Smith spoke with our Head of Content, Alex Stewart, about two key football data analytics-related topics.

The first article deals with how players are increasingly leveraging data in the transfer and contract negotiation process, which could see a shift in power towards players. Analytics FC have already worked extensively in this field, more notably with Kevin de Bruyne and Alex Greenwood.

As Head of Content Alex Stewart told Sky Sports, “Players are operating in a space where data is now day-to-day currency. They’re getting performance analysis all the time in their clubs. People are telling them what they’re doing, where they’re moving, how that can be used to improve them and so on. And so it’s very natural for these smart, data-literate footballers to think, ‘Oh, well actually, I can leverage this to determine my own value in contract negotiations. If you are telling me as a coaching staff that I’m contributing 35 per cent of our goal-creating opportunities, why is that not reflected in my salary?'”

In addition, Stewart talked about AI, players using data to figure out which clubs would suit them (another aspect that Signature can be used), and the continued utility of people in the process.

The second article dealt with how managerial recruitment is a burgeoning field in football data use. Analytics FC has significant experience working with clubs using our Coach ID service, including a very successful project with Orlando Pirates.

Stewart explained to Sky, “Football clubs can develop a strategic vision for a type of football that they’d like to play. That means you can immediately start to assemble a list of coaches that hit those style points.”

He continued, “Ultimately data is about helping clubs make better decisions and providing them with that information. We’re not telling them ‘You definitely need to do this or that’ necessarily, but we’re providing a suite of information that says, ‘If you hire this person instead of that person, then it’s going to take a greater degree of adjustment in the playing squad’.

“When football clubs have to spend not just an increasing amount of money on coaches’ wages and transfer fees [for coaches] but also increasing amounts on player wages and player transfers, it’s really important not to get that decision wrong or to make that decision in the most informed way possible.”

Sky have previously spoken to Analytics FC’s CEO Jeremy Steele and Stewart about the use of data in women’s football, while Steele was also interviewed at length for ‘Inside the WSL’ in April.

Header image copyright IMAGO / Paul Terry / Sportimage

At Analytics FC, we provide software and data services to entities within football looking to realise the gains possible from analytical thinking.

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