Report – Arsenal to swap scouts for data analysts

Arsenal is continuing to overhaul their scouting system and Sun Sports reports that the Gunners are moving permanently away from using physical scouts.

The Gunners took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic last season to make most of their staff redundant.

Their scouting department had been one of the most important parts of the club in the last few decades, yet the club has now got rid of most of them.

And they have not finished yet with the report claiming that they plan to rely more on data from analysts going forward.

The club’s scouts in previous years have helped them identify players like Bukayo Saka, Hector Bellerin and Cesc Fabregas.

Jason Ayto coordinates player recruitment at Arsenal and the report says he now gets his job done by using analytics more than ever.

Formerly clubs recruited scouts to attend games worldwide and watch players.

However, the presence of so much data has made that old-fashioned and Arsenal is looking to ensure that they don’t get left behind by other teams.

In the coming years, Arsenal fans can expect to see their team signing relatively unknown players.

But if the data is true, these players should thrive and perhaps make an impact like Gabriel Martinelli did after he joined Arsenal from Ituano.

Tags arsenal data

15 Comments

  1. Declan says:

    We swapped scouting for Edu’s agent friends……..
    Reports in France saying Wenger has joined Bergkamp, Henry and Vieira with Ek to purchase Arsenal, apparently he will put in £1.

  2. Gio says:

    Bad news, we may end up with more Mustafis

  3. jon fox says:

    A FOOLISH AND HARMFUL MOVE. STATS AND DATA ARE NO PROPER SUBSTITUTE FOR A KNOWING SCOUTS EYES.

    1. Atid says:

      Been a scout myself and whilst I would love to say, you cannot beat the real thing the fact is technology and data is basically the future.

      Everything changes in life, people need to get on board with changes, but also give change a chance to fulfill its promise.

    2. Phil says:

      But Jon, this depends on the Scouts, and who listens to them and ultimately signs them don’t you believe?
      Who scouted Mustafi? Santos? Two of the worst buys in living memory.
      Against whoever scouted Cazorla. Van Petrie. Two of the very best.
      I know which two of hose four will be remembered for what they produced on the pitch.

  4. Reggie says:

    Its the way forwards apparently all the top clubs are reducing their scouting networks and moving toward a data analyst approach, it saves money. We will only know if it works for Arsenal when we see the results.

  5. Son says:

    Bye bye scouts, i know that this means they’ve lost their source of living but with all the data available to us, it’ll pure foolishness to continue the old ways. It’s just like using a typewriter

  6. Rashid80 says:

    That is really stupid to be honest.. The best way is to get a pool of players using data then have scouts watch them.. Depending on stats only is a recipe for disaster when it comes to scouting

    1. SueP says:

      That seems eminently sensible to me

      1. Phil says:

        SueP- since when have the words Arsenal and “Eminently Sensible” been recognised as the way forward?

        1. SueP says:

          I’m wracking my mind…….

  7. JW says:

    I see someone wrote, “It is the way forward”, everybody else is doing it. Like Sheffield United, West Bromwich and Fulham for example? Will Man City or Man Utd decide on Haarland or Kane by using computer produced stats, or will they look at tape of their recent games (surely not the latter, that sounds a bit like scouting)?
    Why stop at scouting for players, can’t we replace Arteta with a computer program that picks the team and the tactics for each game based upon the oppositions stats? In fact there is no need to actually play the games, since we have seen that computers can work out in which position each team will finish at the end of the season. Why watch the games at all, surely we can program computers that will produce the game and all of the action and they can send a video of the game to all of the fans via Tik Tok. That means there is no need for the stadium!!
    Kroenke will charge a meager “arm and a leg” (initially of course) for the privilege of getting the Tik Tok stream.
    I am sure everybody will be doing it soon!!!!

  8. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    There’s no doubt a hybrid system seems the most sensible…usually these types of transformative changes to an organizational model have more to do with the bottom line than increasing the overall effectiveness of any particular department…of course, there have been recent examples where analytics has produced incredibly positive results, but there are just as many examples where this methodology has failed miserably

    this team building rethink made some considerable inroads throughout North American about a decade ago, when teams, in a variety of sports, started to hire increasingly younger Ivy League whizz kids, under the guise of searching for “outside the box” solutions…that said, this approach has faced considerable criticism recently because many teams, who had shown an early uptick in results, have experienced a noticeable regression…not to mention, the original financial impetus for this move oft-times ends up not being substantial enough to justify the obvious human cost of such a significant downsizing

  9. Grandad says:

    Data analysis is a useful tool in the recruitment of players, but physical scouting is needed to identify strengths and weaknesses in certain vital areas, e.g. In the case of defenders, speed in recovery and positional sense.For central midfielders , anticipation, decision making and risk taking etc etc.My concern is that such a system will increase the risk of agent dependability which is a contentious issue in itself and one which has created a huge divide between the earnings of players and the Club fanbase.This has driven a wedge between the community aspect of a traditional supporter and the Global fan who flits between Clubs depending on their success , or lack of it.Scouts are still a vital part of a football club and Leicester City are a classic example where they have the correct balance between data and human input.

  10. P says:

    Martinelli was recruited solely by scouts and live scouting. There have been numerous articles in UK publications stating this fact. There was no data available as he was so under the radar and data is dependent on video which there was none available for 3rd division Brazilian football

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