The key to scouting: Anglo-Saxan Chronicle 39

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Time to bring some players in to replace the folk-of-little-determination that I shifted off FC Saxan’s register.

I need, at least, three full-backs, one defensive mid, and a 3rd choice goalie.

Potentially, several hours of frustrating scouting lie ahead. But I figure I can minimise the time required by calculating the Moldovan top flight’s Lp index number.

The what?

Think of it this way. When recruiting a goalkeeper, there are all kinds of things I want. Jumping reach, aerial ability, and command of the area, so as to dominate in the air. Positioning and anticipation to get in the right place. Composure and concentration to provide the mental strength to support the athletic and technical skills. And so on.

If I was managing in the EPL, I could realistically aspire to use all these attributes, and more, as recruitment criteria.

But in Moldova, forget it. If I go to the market uncompromisingly with such a list, I’ll come back with nothing. It will prove impossible to sign anyone who measures up.

So rather than waste time failing to sign anyone, I need to reduce the number of attributes that I will treat as decisive.

In the case of the third-choice goalie that I need to acquire, I decide to search using three criteria: handling; agility; and reflexes.

There are two other attributes that I’d want a moderate rating for: determination (as for every player in my squad) and positioning.

And there are some others — concentration and composure — where I don’t want a rock-bottom score (say, 1-3 out of 20), though I’d settle for a lowish score.

The important point here is not the specific criteria selected, but rather the number. In essence, I think three attributes is the highest realistic number.

So I say the Lp number for the Moldovan top flight is 3, where ‘L’ stands for league and ‘p’ stands for players (as opposed to staff, for which there’ll be a different number).

Other top-flight leagues I’ve managed in (principally Greece and Israel) have different, in fact, higher numbers. In principle we can create an index in which each league is assigned and L(p) number.

It takes a bit of trial and error to determine the number for the league you manage in, but doing so makes for clarity of thought.