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Home   /   ‘Moneyball’ – Rise in analytical data within recruitment and performance. 

Subedited by: Callan Neal

Moneyball‘. The concept is that studying analytics and data is a more effective approach to constructing a team rather than traditional scouting as it relies on finding undervalued players by looking at metrics others might overlook. There has been a rapid rise of clubs turning to this alternative approach which has made its mark in the top flight as well as against some of the Premier League’s top teams. 

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Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion are examples of outthinking rather than attempting to outspend, they share a similar identity where the system is more important than the individuals. Brighton and Brentford owners have transformed their fortunes by placing data at the centre of their respective organisations and seeking a smarter way to operate to maximise success. Brighton owner Tony Bloom uses data company Star Lizard to analyse all data within the club and for recruitment. Brentford and former Midtjylland owner Matthew Benham uses a similar company which he owns called Smartodds that is a gambling consultancy he has used to revolutionise his transfer strategy.

“More than twenty years ago when I started my career, I wanted to create a team that nobody wants to play against, and we faced that team [yesterday]” said Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool beat Brentford 3-0 at Anfield. This level of high praise from one of the most influential figures in football just goes to credit the success of the model and how Brentford have applied it. Furthermore, the Seagulls have finished in the top half of the Premier League table in sixth-place finish last season which earned Brighton a spot in a European competition for the first time – they were only promoted to the Premier League in 2017. 

Courtesy of: Tifo Football

Will ‘moneyball’ make its way into the big clubs? Clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all have a long-standing success and generate millions more revenue than Brighton and Brentford, who are smaller teams with much smaller fanbases. However, this model allows the clubs the opportunity to eventually match these teams as the key is consistent results and gradual success. 

Courtesy of: The xG Philosophy

A key example of a successful product of the ‘moneyball’ model is Brentford winger Bryan Mbeumo. The Cameroonian signed for the West London side back in 2019 for £5m The 2023/24 season has been his year as he has performed up to his npxG & xAG at 8.5 he has produced six goals and two assists so far this campaign which places him in the 93rd percentile for the season. His value has risen significantly to £35m which almost guarantees the club a record sale, huge profit, and a great return from a smart investment. 

Overall, the rise of the ‘moneyball’ model has truly made an impact on the Premier League rewarding the teams who have been applying this approach with consistent results and a gradual increase in success. It is only a matter of time until the David vs Goliath model of the footballing world influences other smaller, smarter teams to success on and off the pitch.  

Data courtesy of Fbref and Transfermarkt.

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June 2024