In yesterday’s post we introduced Squad Score, our concept for evaluating how well-constructed a squad is.
We limit Squad Score to the best paid 25 professional players.
However, the reality is some squads are far larger than that. Some have 35-40 senior professionals. Others may have 40 players between 17-22 on professional deals.
At least 50% of paid players will never see first-team action for the team they have a professional deal with. A relatively lean well-constructed squad of 25 may mask a sprawling youth team set up with another 50 points worth of unused players.
There are many reasons for large squads. Development (physical and technical) is not linear, risk adversity (nobody wants to be the manager who released a player who turns into a star), and blocked pathways into the first team, are just some of them.
So what do we do with this forgotten 50%? And why does it matter?
Well, it matters for human and for financial reasons. Any player that signs a professional contract has beaten huge odds against making it that far. They have been assessed as having high potential on many occasions and seen 95% of their teammates released by the same point. To make it as a first-team player at whatever level they need to be given the opportunity to flourish. They need competitive football at the highest possible level that their current physical, technical, and emotional level allows. Too often players stagnate, now this may well be that they peaked earlier or “didn’t kick on” but how can we tell if they have never been given a proper chance?
And from a business point of view, any players who are paid a professional wage but are not playing regular football are a financial liability. This forgotten 50% are unlikely to be high earners but they could easily represent 20% of the club’s total wage bill and an even higher proportion of the on-costs such as associated support staff and accommodation.
The obvious solution is a well thought out loan but the loan system, like all football transfers, suffers from an almost total lack of systemic transparency.
Put simply we don’t know which clubs want to loan players, which players are available to loan, which players want to be loaned, or the likely costs involved. At youth-level, we have no individual statistics and very limited video so transfers are almost always based on word of mouth recommendations. It is easy to blame failed youth loans on the player not being ready but often it is a case of “judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree”, in other words, a complete mismatch between the expectations of the role and the player recruited to it.
MRKT Insights think hard about such problems.
And we have a solution.
Early in 2020, the MRKT Insights Club Network will launch, providing a layer of transparency to the football transfer market that will result in better outcomes for all parties.
Follow us @insightMrkt for updates