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Van Gaal, "My computer told me to buy Di Maria"

26/08/14 - 13:05

This week, Computer Weekly have written a very interesting and informative article about how data analytics is being used as a valuable tool to determine the value of footballers.


Rather than the tradition method of relying on scouts and DVDs, there is valuable information now being collected about the long-term performance and statistics of footballers, rather than one or two performances that may mislead a scout. The raw data can also be used better, for example rating a goal scored in a 1-0 Champions League qualifier higher than a goal in a 6-0 meaningless end of season league game.


The football clubs can use information about potential targets and compare that data against existing players to more accurately determine their likelihood of success.


You can then add in data collected from wearable devices and use that to compare against existing players, potential gaps in the squad and other targets.


Marketing data is another important factor. The hundreds of thousands of shirts sold by signing top players being a good example of essential data required to value a player. They report that Real Madrid will make £41m (profit!) over a six year period from the purchase of the £85m Gareth Bale.


Once all this data is brought together, then computed with the player's age, injury history and form, they can give a far more scientific value of their own players and all their transfer targets.


So, does this mean that Van Gaal can blame his software supplier if Di Maria doesn't produce this season? And did Liverpool have a "Balotelli factor" built into their data analytics algorithm? If not, we look forward to Brendan Rodgers wearing his "why always the software" t-shirt come December.


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