Show of hands. Who hires scouts based on purely the judging current and potential ability attributes? Until last week, my hand would have been raised. I’m not ashamed to admit it. They are the attributes that define a scout. No one wants scouts that think a 37 year old striker with 6 finishing would be a perfect fit for your Champions League semi final squad (specific, but it happened to me). There is more to scouts and scouting networks in Football Manager, however.
This is one of those nuggets I mentioned in my very first article; I find some little tidbit I think might improve your Football Manager game. It certainly improved mine. One day last week I was driving along and daydreaming about my Football Manager save, as you do, and I imagined myself as a scout.
Don’t laugh, it’s serious.
Hiring the right scouts
So while I’m moseying along, imagining myself a scout, I decide I’d be no good at finding players in South America, because I’ve never been. Likewise I’d be pretty useless in Africa, or Asia. In fact, I’d only really be any good at finding players in England, Germany, and maybe Spain. I hope I don’t ever get sent somewhere I don’t know about about, in my fictional scouting daydream.
Wait… Did I… Have I just discovered nation knowledge…? If only Football Manager had such a feature that meant you didn’t send someone to a completely alien country and demand he find you a wonderkid within a month…. And sat in my tiny spare room in Leeds, I can hear ALL the pennies drop.
Yes, of course we want our scouts to have the best attributes possible for judging abilities, but how about those attributes AND the best knowledge? Don’t be afraid to take a small hit on judging CA/PA in order to get as much world knowledge as possible. Scout reports may come back with inconsistencies, but we shouldn’t be signing players purely based off a scout report anyway. Scouts are only there to provide you a report on players, you should still look at the player yourself; his attributes, personality, and even that gut feeling you get on a player sometimes.
The filtered recruitment
Whilst filtering that next staff search, try adding a condition of knowing a nation. It makes sense to have more scouts knowledgeable in the nation you are based, but have scouts that know other, or multiple nations. All of this will increase the club knowledge and in turn provide more scout reports. Scouts arrive at a club and instantly recommend players, because they already have a scouting knowledge of certain nations or clubs.
Below are examples of decent scouts with knowledge of differing regions. Vincenz Jager is knowledgeable in my base nation and the bordering nations. Hans Schrijver has a good knowledge of Europe and, more importantly to me, Scandinavian countries. Victor De Los Santos has a good base knowledge for South American countries and Zied Jaziri has a good base knowledge of North Africa. Each of these scouts recommended players from the knowledge they already had.
The overall endgame of this more specific recruitment, is to increase your clubs world knowledge. The more knowledge you have as a club, the more player reports will be available. Larger clubs will have a larger world knowledge by default. For clubs working their way up the pyramid, or mediocre clubs with loftier ambitions, a more complete world knowledge could give you an edge in the transfer windows.
Building the scout network
Having a broader world knowledge from your scouts will yield a higher number of recommendations on intial recruitment. Scouts will also hold reports of players they already have knowledge on, whilst these might not be shown as recommendations, they are useful in providing a good scope to compare potential targets to one another. When I opened up the scouting tab, and chose to only show scouted players, I had 277 player reports. When i did the same thing with a smaller knowledge of the world, it returned 122 players. I had the same number of scouts at the club, the only difference was their combined knowledge of other countries. That’s 155 players extra that I now have a report for, simply because of scout recruitment.
When I have my scouting team ready, it’s time to build your scouting network. I’ll use the four scouts seen earlier, showing where I will deploy them, and my reasoning behind it.
Vincenz Jager had a good knowledge of Germany, my base nation, and a good knowledge of the bordering nations. To that end I will assign him to Germany, and the bordering nations. In the create assignment feature you are able to select multiple nations under the scope drop-down. I have assigned him to Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. I have intentionally left France out because I have another scout with an extremely good knowledge of France and the European countries further west in Europe.
Hans Schrijver is very knowledgeable throughout Europe, but I was particularly interested in his knowledge of Scandinavia. I assigned him to the region so he was able to move freely throughout Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Zied Jaziri has a good base knowledge of North African countries, so he was assigned to that region. Victor Santos is one of two scouts I have with a decent knowledge of South America, so he and the other were assigned the East and Western regions of South America. It is worth noting that sending a scout to an unknown country will naturally increase his scouting knowledge in that area, so once my two South American scouts have acquired knowledge I will swap them to the other region, this should give me 100% knowledge of South America over time. Likewise for the other regionally dictated assignments.
The tactical scout
The last section of this piece is dedicated to the tactical scout. It is always worth having this guy at your club. I argue he is the single most important scout I have. They are solely responsible for providing reports on upcoming opposition. When recruiting this scout I pay no attention to judging ability. They are recruited solely on base nation and tactical knowledge. By having a good knowledge of the base nation, they are fully aware of the players and, more importantly, the league. Their tactical knowledge will provide a more accurate analytical report of the opposition.
And would you look at that. That looks awfully like the data analyst report mentioned in my previous article.
That’s all folks. Whats the highest percentage rating you can get to for your clubs world knowledge? Feel free to tell us how you use scouting networks in Football Manager or if you have any other comments in the section below. Alternatively tweet us @DictateTheGame.
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