Leeds United FC is embracing the power of analytics in its bid to return to the Premier League, after just missing out last season following the team’s elimination in the Championship play-offs.
The club finished third in the second-tier last time out – just six points off automatic promotion – but has signed a contract with Frome-based football analytics firm Analytics FC in an effort boost its transfer policy and secure a place in the top flight of the English game.
The data business, launched in 2015, claims to have “proven experience in delivering data-driven solutions to football clubs, federations and agencies” and already works for West Ham United and AFC Wimbledon in the UK, as well as Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids in the US.
As part of the contract, Analytics FC will become Leeds’ “scouting and recruitment” partner. The firm has worked for the club in the past on an ad hoc basis, including providing a report on the proposed signing of January transfer target Daniel James from Swansea City, which fell through on deadline day.
Analytics FC services include a data-scouting platform – dubbed TransferLab – which, it is claimed, tracks players in over “90 competitions globally and helps manage their scouting network”.
Analytics FC founder Jeremy Steele, who was previously first team scout for West Ham, said: “There are huge gains to be made by incorporating analytics into the scouting process. It’s not a silver bullet, but using data correctly, in tandem with high quality traditional scouting undoubtedly gives clubs a competitive edge in the transfer market.”
Leeds United sporting director Victor Orta added: “Football recruitment is changing constantly and while there is no substitute for the well trained eye of a scout, we also need to combine that skill with various scouting tools – a system like Analytics FC’s TransferLab gives us incredibly important information and allows us to create comparisons between targets and other players in the market place. We are delighted to join forces with Jeremy and his team and look forward to continuing to find talent from the UK, Europe and beyond.”
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