After my first full season in the Premier League, we are back with another instalment of Moneyball. Last season we finished 15th, with data driven signings making a bit of an impact. This time around we’ll be taking a quick look at my scouting process, as well as all the ins and outs this summer, and preview the upcoming season.
I wanted to use this piece to talk a bit about how I use scout reports alongside my spreadsheet. This process consists of three steps.
- Obtaining scouting reports for any player who is recommended / transfer listed / catches my eye. Screen Flow can be really useful for this, you can use this guide to see how it’s used.
- Adding any player who looks useful (3* Potential and above generally) to one of my position shortlists.
- Using my spreadsheet to search for the most effective players statistically
Basically, the scout report is only there to give me an overview of the players strengths and weaknesses. I largely ignore attributes, instead paying more attention to the stats.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the signings I’ve made this summer.
Another reminder about my transfer policy, and what Moneyball is all about. We’re not simply looking to make a profit here. We’re looking for undervalued players who, when we look at statistics, are exceeding their market value. We’re looking to exploit market trends to make the most of our money. Where I refer to AVG, this is the average of all players I scouted for that particular position.
A reminder that these are the types of market exploits I’m looking at:
- Bosman Players
- Transfer Listed Players
- Players with low Release Clauses
- Old / Injury Prone / Unproven Players
- Players from Lower Leagues / Outside Top Five European Leagues
- Signed for £9.75M (£12.25M) from St Etienne
- Market Value £10.5M
- 4.61 saves per game (AVG 3.21)
- 4.77 shots per goal conceded (AVG 4.39)
- 1.26 goals conceded per game (AVG 1.13)
Stefan came out really high on saves per game and shots per goal conceded. Playing in a side that finished 5th last season, that seemed even more impressive, and I was happy to pay what seems a fairly large fee to bring him in. He will compete with Eduardo Luan for the first team position.
- Signed for £8M from Nottm Forest
- Market Value £4.1M
- 3.97 tackles won per game (AVG 3.15)
- 4.14 interceptions per game (AVG 2.69)
- 81% headers won (AVG 82%)
- 81% pass completion ratio (AVG 76%)
An all round defender, Schofield-Rowe did brilliantly last season for Forest, impressing with his tackling, interceptions and heading, coming out ahead of all my centre-backs on all of these stats. A bit more than I would usually like to pay, but CBs seem to be hard to come by on my save. While he won’t feature in the first team just yet, he looks a future star.
- Signed on a free (Bosman) from PSG
- Market Value £550K
- 2.29 tackles won per game (AVG 1.93)
- 2.14 interceptions per game (AVG 1.62)
- Pass completion ratio of 79% (AVG 72%)
- Average Rating of 7.49 (AVG 6.90)
Ewen was featured in Part 2 as one of the two left backs I brought in on free transfers. While he doesn’t feel good enough to play regularly, he could be a useful asset in the future. He is playing on loan at RC Lens this season as a first team left back.
- Signed on a free (Bosman) from Viitorul
- Market Value £15.25M
- 1.61 tackles per game (AVG 1.93)
- Tackle completion ratio of 95% (AVG 76%)
- Cross completion ratio of 50% (AVG 24%)
- Average rating of 7.30 (AVG 6.90)
Iordan looks like a great player, and while his defensive stats weren’t great, he was playing in a team which finished 3rd, so wouldn’t be expected to make as many tackles. He will be my more attacking left back, with Gary Cash coming in for the bigger away games.
- On loan from Man United (£36K p/w)
- Market Value £9M
- 3.66 tackles per game (AVG 3.15)
- Pass completion ratio of 82% (AVG 76%)
- Average Rating of 7.01 (AVG 6.91)
A good option to have at centre back, Nacho seems a great deal at just 30% of his wages. He will most likely feature in the core of the defence. What he lacks in physicality, he makes up with his tackling and great mentals.
- Signed for £100K from SuperSport (SA)
- Market Value £300K
- 2.17 tackles per game (AVG 1.93)
- Average rating of 7.80 (AVG 6.89)
Whilst not quite good enough to feature in the first team, Gumede was an absolute steal at £100K. His high average rating made him stand out, and hopefully a loan spell playing first team football at Nice will allow him to feature a lot more next season.
- On loan from Chelsea (£23K p/w)
- Market Value £22.5M
- 0.92 Key passes per game (AVG 0.45)
- Average rating of 7.15 (AVG 6.95)
Brought in to bolster options behind the strikers, Hudson-Odoi looks a decent attacking outlet as a squad player. At just £23K p/w he represents excellent value for money.
- Signed for £10.25M from Santos (Release Clause)
- Market Value £33M
- 0.60 Assists per game (AVG 0.16)
- 1.20 Key passes per game (AVG 0.45)
- 2.15 Chances created per game (AVG 0.83)
- 26 Passes completed per game (AVG 17)
- Average rating of 7.46 (AVG 6.95)
Andre looks the real deal. He was consistently high for KPIs in the number 10 role, and at £10.25M was a great bit of business. He will feature heavily in the side, competing with Alessio Scarfone for the AMC slot.
- Signed on a free (Bosman) from PSG
- Market Value £11.75M
- 3.65 tackles won per game (AVG 2.56)
- 2.78 interceptions per game (AVG 1.96)
- Tackle completion ratio of 84% (AVG 77%)
A terrific defensive midfielder, Payet should feature from the bench and play in the bigger games. For a free signing he looks a terrific acquisition, winning more tackles and interceptions than all of my current central midfielders did last season.
- Signed for £6.75M
- Market Value £13.75M
- 5.44 Shots per game (AVG 2.23)
- 2.44 Shots on target per game (AVG 1.11)
- 0.5 Goals per game (AVG 0.33)
- Average Rating 7.37 (AVG 6.98)
Flamarion’s stats are off the charts, even more impressive than Jaime Ortiz, who I brought in in January. With a record of 13 apps, 9 goals and 3 assists in the league last year, he looks a fine addition to the forward line.
Turning a Profit
With all these signings coming in, you can imagine there were quite a few departures. Whilst moneyball definitely does not equal buy low sell high, you must be willing to let players go, if the price is right of course.
Here is the list of players we lost over the current transfer window:
|Name||Signed For||Sold For||To|
|Serge Gnabry||Free||£23.5M (£27.5M)||Burnley|
|Aaron Wan-Bissaka||Home Grown||£16M (£18M)||Everton|
In each of these transfers, the offers were too good to refuse and above the players market value by a considerable margin. When this happens, I looked if replacements were statistically better, and opted for cheaper, more effective replacements. A profit of at least £55M is nothing to be sniffed at, and £35M of this was invested back into the squad, leaving £20M left over.
Where the Oakland A’s were forced into moneyball due to necessity, I am simply choosing to run to as tight a budget as possible, trusting in my statistical model and by coaching ability. I know one Premier League owner who would be very interested in my services.
- Expected Finish: 15th
- Wage Budget: 19th (£39.33M)
- Net Spend: 20th (£18.91M)
My close management of our budgets has allowed Palace to become the only rich club outside the top 7. Last season we finished 15th and if we can finish around there this year we’re looking good. Some investment can be brought in in January if we are struggling, but we should comfortably finish mid-table.
Just to show how low a budget we are on, here are a few screenshots of our financial performance last season.
Thank you very much for checking out this post. I was aware that the last post was pretty short, so hopefully this longer piece makes up for it. If you want to get in touch directly, leave a comment or tweet me @FM_Vars
You can find previous editions here:
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