Episode 19, FM’s biggest scouting network?

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Now with the addition of Coca Cola Sunderland and having had a season to shape the back-room it’s time for an overhaul of our scouting system. Last season we relied on the scouting network we already had in place, but now it’s time to refine our scouting system.

To start with we need to know the locations of which we want to scout, obviously for our model we want the widest reach possible, so that means scouring as many countries as we can. Obviously however some countries aren’t worth scouting due to the poor quality of the league/standard of player within the league, so we need to examine each region to determine which countries in that region we want to scout.

Obviously there’s hundreds of countries in the game, and plenty of them will never produce a worthwhile player, so we’ll eliminate every country who isn’t in the top 100 of the world rankings (in-game). This leaves us the following countries in each region:

South America

Argentina:
Population: 43,590,368
World Ranking: 5

Brazil:
Population: 207,093,000
World Ranking: 2

Chile:
Population: 18,191,884
World Ranking: 13

Colombia:
Population: 49,055,000
World Ranking: 19

Ecuador:
Population: 16,685,400
World Ranking: 78th

Paraguay:
Population: 6,854,536
World Ranking: 87

Peru:
Population: 31,488,625
World Ranking: 38

Uruguay
Population: 3,480,222
World Ranking: 32

Venezuela
Population: 31,028,637
World Ranking: 83

All of these are worth scouting. Even the lower ranked countries such as Venezuela and Paraguay still produce some decent players and shouldn’t take very long to scout. The fact that we’ve got one of Paraguay’s hottest young talents already on our books is testament to that.

Central Europe

Austria
Population: 8,500,000
World Ranking: 51

Belgium
Population: 11,200,000
World Ranking: 25

France
Population: 66,750,000
World Ranking: 1

Germany
Population: 81,000,000
World Ranking: 15

Holland
Population: 17,000,000
World Ranking: 12

Italy
Population: 61,000,000
World Ranking: 3

Portugal
Population: 10,500,000
World Ranking: 4

Spain
Population: 46,500,000
World Ranking: 7

Switzerland
Population: 8,200,000
World Ranking: 17

Central Europe is obviously a hotbed of talent, with plenty of high ranking and well populated countries. We want to be scouting all of the above, with extra emphasis on France, Germany, Italy and Spain

UK + Ireland

England
Population: 53,000,000
World Ranking: 6

Ireland
Population: 4,600,000
World Ranking: 55

Scotland
Population: 5,300,000
World Ranking: 47

Wales
Population: 3,000,000
World Ranking: 34

All worth scouting. Extra emphasis put on recruitment in England and Scotland.

South Europe

Greece
Population: 10,800,000
World Ranking: 57

Turkey
Population: 77,500,000
World Ranking: 43

Both worth scouting, potentially extra emphasis on Turkey due to it’s population and competitive league structure.

Eastern Europe

Albania
Population: 2,800,000
World Ranking: 69

Bosnia + Herzegovina
Population: 3,800,000
World Ranking: 46

Bulgaria
Population: 7,200,000
World Ranking: 89

Croatia
Population: 4,200,000
World Ranking: 9

Czech Republic
Population: 10,500,000
World Ranking: 72

Georgia
Population: 3,700,000
World Ranking: 88

Hungary
Population: 9,800,000
World Ranking: 62

Kosovo
Population: 1,800,000
World Ranking: 69

Latvia
Population: 1,900,000
World Ranking: 73

Moldova
Population: 3,500,000
World Ranking: 80

Montenegro
Population: 620,000
World Ranking: 67

Poland
Population: 38,500,000
World Ranking: 40

Romania
Population: 20,000,000
World Ranking: 59

Russia
Population: 146,500,000
World Ranking: 52

Serbia
Population: 7,100,000
World Ranking: 49

Slovakia
Population: 5,500,000
World Ranking: 96

Slovenia
Population: 2,000,000
World Ranking: 56

Ukraine
Population: 42,700,000
World Ranking: 8

A few tricky choices here! Ukraine and Russia are must scouts due to their huge populations and relatively good domestic leagues.

Croatia, Poland and Czech Republic also join the list due to their good population or high ranking (as well as the standard of league).

Despite not having the highest ranking nor the greatest population the trio of Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia also join the list as they do often produce under-rated or undervalued players – something we’re striving for within our transfer model. Bosnia, Bulgaria and Romania also join the list under the same criteria.

This leaves Albania, Montenegro, Latvia, Moldova, Kosovo, Hungary and Georgia. With a population of less than a million, Montenegro isn’t worth the resources or time spent scouting it so is discounted. Latvia, Moldova, Kosovo and Georgia don’t look worthwhile scouting based on their ranking or population, nor based on a look at the players within their youth setups, a deserved ranking for each of them and not worth our time. I do believe however that Albania and Hungary are worthwhile. Hungary due to it’s population and past history and Albania due to it’s rise up the rankings.

Scandinavia

Denmark
Population: 5,500,000
World Ranking: 21

Finland
Population: 5,500,000
World Ranking: 65

Iceland
Population: 330,000
World Ranking: 97

Norway
Population: 5,000,000
World Ranking: 45

Sweden
Population: 9,900,000
World Ranking: 41

Most of these would be great to scout. I have doubts about Finland, but due to the proximity to the other countries here and the same population as Denmark and Norway, they make the list. Iceland miss out due to the tiny population and poor world ranking, but every other country makes it in.

North America

Canada
Population: 35,000,000
World Ranking: 68

Mexico
Population: 122,300,000
World Ranking: 10

USA
Population: 319,000,000
World Ranking: 29

Mexico and USA are obvious places to scout due to their high populations and world ranking. Canada is interesting, they’re not a bad ranking and have a high population which would normally make them a “must scout”. However, all the best Canadian teams (and therefore the best Canadian players) play in the MLS – which is covered under scouting the USA (tested by seeing my current USA scout giving reports from the Canadian teams playing the USA), therefore we won’t be scouting Canada.

North Africa

Algeria
Population: 40,000,000
World Ranking: 42

Egypt
Population: 92,500,000
World Ranking: 20

Morocco
Population: 33,300,000
World Ranking: 43

Sudan
Population: 40,250,000
World Ranking: 98

Tunisia
Population: 11,000,000
World Ranking: 73

North Africa has been very good to us so far with plenty of Algerians and Egyptians breaking through. I also believe Morocco to be worthwhile scouting (despite not having much luck there so far) and also Tunisia (due to it’s proximity and ranking to the other countries). Sudan however misses out due to it’s poor world ranking and my believed lack of Sudan’s footballing future.

Western Africa

Nigeria
Population: 173,000,00
World Ranking: 31

Ivory Coast
Population: 22,500,000
World Ranking: 26

Ghana
Population: 27,000,000
World Ranking: 14

Senegal
Population: 14,500,000
World Ranking: 22

Mali
Population: 14,500,000
World Ranking: 15

Burkina Faso
Population: 18,500,000
World Ranking: 66

Guinea
Population: 10,500,000
World Ranking: 39

Togo
Population: 6,000,000
World Ranking: 76

Benin
Population: 10,000,000
World Ranking: 63

Cape Verde
Population: 500,000
World Ranking: 36

Guinea-Bissau
Population: 1,500,000
World Ranking: 58

Obviously the main African sources of talent – Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana join the list. Senegal and Mali also join due to their population + high world ranking. Burkina Faso is a maybe – I’m really on the fence there. Togo, Guinea, Benin, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau all miss out however.

East Asia

Japan
Population: 127,000,000
World Ranking: 18

South Korea
Population: 50,000,000
World Ranking: 23

Both countries are a “must scout”

Central Africa

DR Congo
Population: 77,250,000
World Ranking: 11

Cameroon
Population: 22,000,000
World Ranking: 27

Gabon
Population: 1,800,000
World Ranking: 53

Congo
Population: 3,500,000
World Ranking: 37

Equatorial Guinea
Population: 1,200,000
World Ranking: 99

Central African Republic
Population: 3,800,000
World Ranking: 90

DR Congo and Cameroon are obviously “must scouts”. The rest of them miss out due to a mix of population or their ranking.

Middle East

Jordan
Population: 6,400,000
World Ranking: 61

Iraq
Population: 37,000,000
World Ranking:64

Iran
Population: 80,000,000
World Ranking: 24

Saudi Arabia
Population: 31,500,000
World Ranking: 82

Syria
Population: 21,000,000
World Ranking: 71

Bahrain
Population: 1,200,000
World Ranking: 94

Israel
Population: 8,500,000
World Ranking: 91

Lebanon
Population: 5,000,000
World Ranking: 79

U.A.E
Population: 8,000,000
World Ranking: 81

Qatar
Population: 2,500,000
World Ranking: 48

Both Iran and Iraq join the list as potential options to scout, however the rest probably aren’t worth scouting so miss out.

Southern Africa

South Africa
Population: 55,000,000
World Ranking: 60

Angola
Population: 24,000,000
World Ranking: 50

Zambia
Population: 15,000,000
World Ranking: 95

Zimbabwe
Population: 13,000,000
World Ranking: 92

Comoros
Population: 800,000
World Ranking: 54

Both South Africa and Angola look to be good potential options here, whilst the rest lack on the 2 key components (population + world ranking) so miss out.

Southeast Asia

Australia
Population: 24,000,000
World Ranking: 28

Thailand
Population: 66,000,000
World Ranking: 93

Philippines
Population: 100,000,000
World Ranking: 86

Australia join the list, however both Thailand and Philippines – despite their impressive population don’t have the quality we’re looking for.

Central America

Honduras
Population: 8,500,000
World Ranking: 84

Costa Rica
Population: 5,000,000
World Ranking: 35

Honduras miss out due to the population/ranking combination, but Costa Rica make the list.

East Africa

Uganda
Population: 35,000,000
World Ranking: 75

Kenya
Population: 45,000,000
World Ranking: 85

Kenya joins the list due to its population, but Uganda narrowly misses out.

Caribbean

Jamaica
Population: 2,750,000
World Ranking: 33

Was very unsure about adding Jamaica to the list due to most of it’s players being British born and playing in England- therefore will be picked up by our English scouts, but I’ll add it on a trial basis (we can always stop scouting it later on) and see how it goes.

Central Asia

Uzbekistan
Population: 31,000,000
World Ranking: 30

Joins the list, although I’m not convinced it’ll be that effective, so will join on a trial basis.

So out of the top 100 countries in the world, we now have a list of 63 countries to scout that when broken down by continent looks like the following:

Now comes the hard part – working out which club will scout each country and working out each assignment.

The game takes into consideration travel times between countries – so we don’t want a scout being sent to both Denmark and New Zealand (a 37 hour flight) compared to the same scout being sent to Denmark and Sweden (less than an hour) – so we’ll group countries in close proximity together for the same scout, making it a much more efficient system.

Another factor to consider is the importance of the country. The more important the country, the more focus the scout assigned should have to that country. For example, say we have 2 scouts called Scout A and Scout B. It makes no sense for Scout A to be sent to scout both Germany and Spain whilst Scout B gets sent to scout only Iran as Germany and Spain are obviously high priority countries so should be receiving more focus (aka a dedicated scout for each).

The last factor we’ll be taking into consideration is the quality of player coming in. Coca Cola Silkeborg are obviously the weakest team in our network so far, so it makes no sense for them to be scouting Brazil or France whilst Coca Cola Sunderland scout Angola. As the quality of player coming in from Brazil will most likely be much higher than that from Angola. So therefore we need to group the countries as close to the likely quality of player coming from that country

Based on the above factors I’ve come up with what I believe to be the near perfect plan to scour the world for talent. Each empty row on the picture below represents a new assignment (so a new scout) – so for Coca Cola Sunderland for example Scout A will be scouting Germany, Scout B will be scouting France whilst Scout C will be scouting both USA and Mexico.

I’ll also include a few more details to further enhance the efficiency of our network. I’ve noticed you get more scout reports if you specify a time-scale on the assignment (somewhat linked to each scout’s Determination attribute I believe). So if we use Scout A again, let’s pretend he has the responsibility of scouting Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco at Coca Cola Antwerp. If we set the assignment to end “when finished” he could finish early in one of the countries due to not having sufficient scouting knowledge of that country (as it’ll be hard to have full knowledge of every country for all the assignments and groupings we’ve created) – by putting a time-scale on that assignment (say Algeria – 2 months, Tunisia – 1 month and Morocco – 1 month) the scout will be forced to stay in that country.

Doing this will mean the scout will watch more games = more reports = quicker knowledge buildup of that country = better quality + quantity of reports

The next trick is to “double up” on knowledge. For instance the board will allow Coca Cola Antwerp to have 16 scouts at present, however in our plan above we have only set assignments for 8 scouts, this would obviously be a huge waste so we’ll fill those 8 vacant scout positions with scouts and set them assignments that other clubs may have as well, with potentially varying factors – so we could scout Germany – currently a Coca Cola Sunderland assignment, but specify the scout to search the 2.Bundesliga for talent hopefully ensuring that no stone goes unturned in our quest for hoovering up every bit of talent we can find.

The final trick is that of affiliate clubs. I push my board to let me have a junior affiliate club as often as possible. If they accept there’s a strong chance you’ll have a say in which club will be the affiliate club. The details you are looking for in an affiliate club are

The status of the club: Obviously a professional club is more likely to produce a decent player than a semi-professional or amateur club, so aim as high as possible!

The country the club is based in: Again a quite obvious one – our affiliate clubs should be in the “best” countries possible – this is linked to our scouting criteria for each country we used above – mainly their world ranking and population.

The facilities at the club: This is how the intake of regens are calculated for each club. The better facilities = the better regen, therefore we want clubs with the highest quality of facility available.

So far we have the following affiliations set (not including the Coca Cola clubs that are all set as affiliates of each other):

Sunderland

Asante Kotoko (Ghana)

Antwerp

Heracles Almelo (Holland):

Strasbourg (France):

Sigma Olomouc (Czech Republic):

Leiria

Amiens SC (France):

Numantia (Spain):

Roda JC (Holland):

Silkeborg

Keflavik (Iceland):

So we’ve done a majority of planning, all that’s left is to set the assignments and work out what to do with the leftover scouts to make sure they aren’t wasted.

Sunderland

The board will allow us to have 14 scouts (plus the chief scout). Our plan above requires us to have 13 scouts, leaving us 2 scouts spare – these will be used to scout for hot prospects in the Eastern Europe region and first team players within our scouting range (who are aged 18-25). The scouts and assignments are dished out as follows:

Germany (for hot prospects) – Henrik Anderson – on a 2 month cycle:

France (for hot prospects) – Matthieu Bideau – on a 2 month cycle:

Spain (for hot prospects) – Miguel Angel Baltanas – on a 2 month cycle:

Portugal (for hot prospects) – Palatasi – on a 2 month cycle:

England (for hot prospects) – Steve Houston – on a 2 month cycle:

Holland (for hot prospects) – Grads Fuhler – on a 2 month cycle:

Italy (for hot prospects) – Sergio Flipponi – on a 2 month cycle:

Argentina (for hot prospects) – Sergio Rojas – on a 2 month cycle:

Brazil (for hot prospects) – Rogerio Gomes – on a 2 month cycle:

USA/Mexico (for hot prospects) – Josue Soto – On a one month cycle each:

Austria/Switzerland/Slovenia (for hot prospects) – Daniel Jungblut – On a one month cycle each:

Belgium (for hot prospects) – Thomas Driesen – on a 2 month cycle:

Ireland/Scotland/Wales (for hot prospects) – Allan Gemmill – On a one month cycle each:

Eastern Europe (for hot prospects) – Dragi Putevski – On a 3 month cycle:

First team players within scouting range – John Owen – On a 3 month cycle:

Antwerp:

The Antwerp board are generous (due to persistent hounding by over the course of the save so far) and allow us 16 scouts (plus the chief scout). Our “master-plan” only needs 8 scouts at Antwerp so this is a perfect chance to double-up on knowledge. The 8 scouts “needed” and their assignments are as follows:

Sweden (for hot prospects) – Barry Simmonds – On a 1 month cycle:

Egypt/Turkey (for hot prospects) – Kevin Diaz – On a 1 month cycle each

Tunisia/Morocco/Algeria (for hot prospects) – Halim Medaci – On a 1 month cycle each

South Korea/Japan (for hot prospects) – Atushi Yoshiike – On a 1 month cycle each

Ghana/Ivory Coast (for hot prospects) – Katanga Kikibula – On a 1 month cycle each

Czech Republic/Poland (for hot prospects) – Paul Quasten – On a 1 month cycle each

Denmark (for hot prospects) – Morten Nagel – On a 1 month cycle

Chile/Peru (for hot prospects) – Ronaldo Leite Garcia – On a 1 month cycle each

Now this is where we try to organise the most suitable assignments for the 9 left-over scouts. A scout being sent to scout both Italy and Portugal looks a good shout, despite already having covered both of these countries with Coca Cola Sunderland, more exposure to players can’t hurt, certainly in countries that produce such talent like these. The same goes for UK, Spain, France and Holland. Obviously since we’re a Belgian team scouting Belgium ourselves also makes perfect sense. This leaves us with 3 scouts leftover. One will be sent to scout for first team ready players aged 18-25, another will be sent to scout South America for hot prospects whilst the last scout will be sent to Scandinavia to look for first teamers – also aged 18-25.

Italy/Portugal (for hot prospects) – Pedro Ferreira – On a 1 month cycle each

UK (for hot prospects) – Dean Shiels – On a 3 month cycle

Holland (for hot prospects) – Frank Wijnhoven – On a 1 month cycle

France (for hot prospects) – Jules-Francois Diatta – On a 1 month cycle

Spain (for hot prospects) – Jose Antonio Metola – On a 1 month cycle

Belgium (for hot prospects) – Noah Verbeeck On a 2 month cycle

First team players within scouting range – Andre Van Gerven – On a 3 month cycle

South America (for hot prospects) – Franciso Donzelot – On a 6 month cycle

Scandinavia for first teamers – Janne Wilkeman – On a 3 month cycle

Leiria

The board will let us have 11 scouts plus the chief scout, our master-plan shows that we need 8 that are organised as followed:

Cameroon/Nigeria (for hot prospects) – Farez Brahmia – On a 1 month cycle each

Mali/Senegal/Burkina Faso (for hot prospects) – Mohamed El Gabas – On a 1 month cycle each

Uruguay/Paraguay (for hot prospects) – Roberto Ayala – On a 1 month cycle each

Colombia/Venezuela/Ecuador (for hot prospects) – Carlos Cruz – On a 1 month cycle each

Slovakia/Hungary/Serbia (for hot prospects) – Vladan Kujovic – On a 1 month cycle each

Croatia/Bosnia/Albania (for hot prospects) – Irfan Handzic – On a 1 month cycle each

Australia/New Zealand (for hot prospects) – Marcio Saraiva – On a 1 month cycle each

Russia/Ukraine (for hot prospects) – Dan Vaan Gijsegheim – On a 1 month cycle each

Since we’re based in Portugal it obviously makes perfect sense to scout Portugal, so a scout is given that assignment. France also gets a dedicated scout and we have 2 scouts searching for first team players, one scouting worldwide and another scouting just Portugal.

Portugal (for first team players aged 18-25) – Pedro Monteiro – On a 2 month cycle

Portugal (for hot prospects) – Mauro Saraiva – On a 2 month cycle

First team players in scouting range (aged 18-25) – Manolo Salvador – On a 3 month cycle

France (for hot prospects) – Laurent Moracchini – On a 2 month cycle

Silkeborg:

The Coca Cola Silkeborg board will allow us 9 scouts (and the chief scout). Our master-plan requires 6 scouts which I’ve organised as such:

Finland/Norway (for hot prospects) – Rune Lange – On a 1 month cycle each

 

Costa Rica/Jamaica (for hot prospects) – Matt Hall – On a 1 month cycle each

Kenya/DR Congo (for hot prospects) – Jose De Medina – On a 1 month cycle each

Angola/South Africa (for hot prospects) – Chris O’Loughlin – On a 1 month cycle each

Iran/Iraq/Uzbekistan (for hot prospects) – Daniel Jensen – On a 1 month cycle each

Greece/Bulgaria/Romania (for hot prospects) – Paul Goldrick – On a 1 month cycle each

The other 4 are set to scout hot prospects (as we’ll rarely need first team players as they’ll be loanees from our other clubs since Silkeborg is the lowest priority team)

Spain Segunda Division (for hot prospects) – Igor Extebarrieta – 2 months

South America (for hot prospects) – Carlos Adao – 3 months

Scandinavia (for hot prospects) – Patrick Anderson – 3 months

 

France ligue 2 (for hot prospects) – Jean Costa – 2 months

So there we have it, what I think is probably one of the largest scouting networks ever made in FM! Hopefully this will bring in plenty of players and let us evolve our model slightly further whilst taking every team to a higher level than they were at before.

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