Analytics FC in the Media: Kevin De Bruyne and Ben White’s “unique tactic”

Analytic FC’s work providing objective, data-driven analysis for player contract negotiations was once again the subject of an in-depth report in the English press.

With news of Analytic FC’s Signature report for Ben White in the summer continuing to attract attention, The Daily Express spoke with Analytics FC’s Head of Content Alex Stewart, who leads on the research and writing of Signature Projects, and Bart Huby, LCP’s Head of Football Analytics. LCP are Analytics FC’s partners on TransferLab, the platform whose Goal Difference Added algorithm underpins much of the analysis in a Signature report.

The Express’ focus was the “unique tactic”, in their words, of players harnessing data to demonstrate sporting and financial value to clubs in the negotiation process, or using data to provide an assessment of potential destination clubs should the player decide to move: “Rather than sitting around the negotiating table with club staff and arguing White’s case subjectively, [White’s representatives] hired Analytics FC to conduct an objective analysis of the player’s worth.”

That report, which delved into White’s performance data, his tactical fit at Arsenal, as well as various elite European clubs, and modelled his future performance as both a full-back and centre-back.

This information is all tied into financial models, both in terms of salary data, but also the rewards of performing well in certain competitions. As Alex explained, “That’s where it gets quite crunchy for the negotiations because what you’re then able to do is say, ‘if you took Ben White out of the team and replaced him with an average Premier League right back, how would that affect Arsenal’s chances of winning the title, getting into the Champions League, and so on.”

The piece goes on to discuss other high profile players Analytics FC has worked with, including Kevin De Bruyne, Alex Greenwood, and Héctor Bellerín. In the case of Bellerín, as Bart explained, “His manager had spotted something I’d posted on LinkedIn about the Kevin De Bruyne case. He contacted me so I went to Analytics FC. He wanted to find a club that would give him the best chance of playing for Spain at the Qatar World Cup. It wasn’t about salary benchmarking, it was about playing for Spain.”

Alex also pointed out the benefits that sportspeople can derive from using Signature to get a full sense of their value: “A sportsperson’s career is short and pretty brutal – it seems only right that if there’s a huge amount of money swirling around that players get their fair share. That’s particularly acute in the women’s game, where we’ve seen a rise in serious injuries, some of which could be career-ending.”

You can read the full article here. To find out more about Signature, get in touch.

Header image copyright IMAGO / Offside Sports Photography

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