Welcome back guys.  I did say in the last post I wasn’t sure when I would be writing again and here I am less than 6 hours later scribbling stuff down.  I will be doing some recruiting in this post (hopefully, if the buggers decide to join me) and I want to walk you through the “StS © v2.0” process that I am employing.

Firstly, having finished 2nd in the league do I feel I need to recruit?  Well, frankly it will not be a disaster if nobody agrees to join us – generally I am happy with what I have but I can always improve.

Let’s have a look at some of the key stats per position so we can get some benchmarks in place.  Yes, I know we have done this before but that was in a nation’s top tier – we are in the 7th tier right now so it is unrealistic to expect to recruit on the same profile as last time!

Have a look at my squad, filtered by the highest average rating, first of all.  Some fairly decent average ratings in there.  It is pleasing to see that every “regular” achieved 6.80 and above.  Keep something in your mind when for when you look at the next screen shot, three of the top five average ratings in the squad – and this will show you why I only take “star ratings” with a pinch of salt.  It is so easy to get caught up in how good a player is supposed to be.

squad by stats (1)

Ok, got the top five guys in your mind?  Now look at my squad when filtered on what the coaches think of them.

squad by stars (1)

Can you see the mistake I might be about to make if I was planning next season’s retention purely based on the star ratings?  

I made it easy for you.  If I was only using the star ratings I would be considering replacing our right back Kanjevac and our defensive midfielder Markovic.  Both these lads, according to my staff, are not good enough for the squad yet finished in the top five average ratings in the team.  Equally, Jankovic hasn’t even got a yellow star on current ability yet, though he was also in the top five.  The goalkeeper, Hegedus, was superb in my opinion throughout and his average rating ended up below 7.00 and the staff tell me is still only 0.5 of a star on current.  These stars do not tell the full story.

Equally, do average ratings tell the full story?  Let’s look deeper under the bonnet.  Here is the KPI view once more, starting with the goalkeeper.

GK squad (1)

Heg and Drag played the 28 games between them.  Neither made a mistake leading to a goal and Drag was actually showing signs of going on to have the better stats if I had not recalled Heg after injury.  Combined they had the same amount of clean sheets as the Dinamo keeper who won the title.  How they both ended up sub 7 on average baffles me, what else could they have done?  Either way, I see no need to be recruiting a new goalkeeper.  

Next, my right backs.

RB squad (1)

Don’t forget, my staff tell me Zoran is not good enough for the squad.  Yet he average 7.26 and if I look at the things which are important to me when judging a full back, what do I find?  He got 6 assists, the second highest in the side.  He ran 13.6km on average, again the most in the side.  He dribbled over 1.25 times per match, which actually matches the profile I was using at Honved.  His passing, although less than I would normally approve of, is on a par in terms of number and % completion with the best in the Serbian lower leagues.  I’m happy with this, and to be fair to Koj who doubles up as the back up centre back, his stats are fine with me too.  Do I feel I need a better right back?  At this stage, no.

Left backs!

LB squad (1)

Please exclude Koller and Topalovic from this as they did not play a game at left back.  Dusan was my regular and he also weighed in with 6 assists.  He passed the ball more than Zoran, but had a lesser completion %.  He was also pretty decent on the tackling stats too.  I am happy with my first choice man, but looking at Maric I do not think the back up is good enough so a left back is on the shopping list.

The guys in the middle next.

CB squad (1)

Koller and Tops were the two starting defenders, Koller as the stopper and Tops as the sweeper.  Mistakes they made led to three goals being shipped, and their passing quite frankly was awful.  Their average ratings were also some of the poorest in the side and this is an area I can definitely improve in.

Defensive midfielders are vital in this set up, so how did they do?

DM squad (1)

It’s important to note that Zukic played the anchor man role for the season, not pushing as far forward so that is why his distance covered is less and his interceptions higher.  On the basics, being ball retention, they are not as good as I would like to be honest so I will have a look and see if there are any out there that keep the ball nearer the 40.00 per 90 and 80%+.  If not, no big deal at all.

The central winger, I loved this position at Boca in FM15 – I don’t think anyone will ever play it as well as Mauro Gonzales.

CM squad (1)

Markovic played the vast majority of games in there, with others doing a job from time to time.  To be fair, he scored a couple of stunning goals and his ball retention is amongst the best in the squad.  But, I did not feel he was amazingly dynamic – his dribbles per game reflect this along with his shots per 90.  If there is someone out there with good stats I might try and nab them, but again it is no drama if not.

The false-front-two now.

AM squad (1)

As you can see, Sov and Kuz ended up being the first choice pair and scored the majority.  Niko ended coming off the bench a lot and always looked like he was about to do something but had little end product a lot of the time.  Rado promised much, but kept picking up niggling injuries.  The biggest issue for me with all of them, and this was reflected very much in the matches, is the shots on target percentage.  It is no wonder we did not win the league when we barely hit the target 30% of the time!  So, as ever, if there are attacking midfielders out there who have a better strikes on target % than that I am interested – there is also an argument for seeing if there are any strikers out there that might be aligned to retraining to play in the AM slot.

In summary, I am scouting out a back up left back and centre backs as a priority whilst having a quick look at the three midfield slots.

My scouts have been working over-time all season, so I have plenty of data to look at.

Let’s start with the left backs.

LB longlist (1)

I have filtered these guys on average rating – but if you look closely at the key recruitment stats the best average ratings do not actually match what I want!

Playing with the filters I learn the highest pass % about is 73% and the most passes per 90 is 34.86.  When I compare that to my back up left back, he really does not look that bad now especially when I have some kids coming through that I could also give a chance to.  Mission to sign back up left back aborted!

Maybe I will have better luck with the central defenders.

CB longlist (1)

As you can see, the highest average rating for a centre back is only 6.97 – not amazing at all.  That puts Koller and Tops into context a little.  Anyone that played more than 15 games has a top pass % rate of 69% and passes completed tops out at 30 max.  Both of these are almost double what Koller and Tops were giving me, so some of these boys are going on the shortlist.

CB shortlist (1)

What I have been left with is four Hadjuk defenders.  Their performance stats work for me, but I have to say I am not confident of securing any of them as I cannot see Hadjuk players joining us.  However, I have approached all four.  I will let you know at the end of the post whether we have been successful.  Two of them currently reside in their reserve squad, so you never know.

Ok, DM’s now.  Remember, I mainly looking to improve the pass completion % and passes completed per 90.  I need to see something in the 79%+ and 38 passes+ area to even waste my time.

DM longlist (1)

The guy at the top of that screen shot has only played one game, so forget him.  The next two are interesting though so have ended up on the shortlist and I have offered them a deal.  Again, being realistic, I cannot see them joining but I don’t mind.

Central wingers – I am looking for a dribbler with shots per 90.

CM longlist (1)

As you can see from that, not many folk like a dribble or a shot playing CM in Serbia.  I’ll stick with what I have and train some of the kids to do it well.

Finally, can anyone provide me with more goals from AM?  We’ll check this first, then look at strikers to be retrained if needed.

AM long list (1)

The top three interest me immediately – goals scored are good, shots on target % improves what I have already and they seem to get some shots away per game.  I also did a filter on % and number of shots and came up with this shortlist.

AM Shortlist (1)

Again, I think any of these would be a welcome addition so I have approached all of them in the hope that one might join us!

Normally I would do further analysis – crack out some Prozone, see how they performed against us at Dinamo for example, as well as a weak side.  But to be honest, with the liklihood of them actually joining us being so low I am not inclined to go that extra mile.  Let’s just hit continue and see if any of these boys want to come and join us…

Four days later…. one of the DM’s elects to stay put.

Five days later… three other of the potential signings elect to stay put.

Six days later… bingo! One of the centre backs is joining us!

Seven days later… another five or six elect to stay put.

Eight days later… one of the attacking midfielders decides to join us!

So, two out of god knows how many.  Better than nothing I guess.  It led to me releasing one of the attacking midfielders who I had signed but had not really done anything.  That will be the squad for next season then!

I think in the next post I might highlight some of the younger prospects coming through and show you how I am planning on developing them.

If you’d like to download the views I use, here we go.

Any questions, fire them to me at @www.thehighertempopress.comcomeontheoviedo