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Author Topic: Previous Transfer Approach  (Read 3093 times)

Offline Bent Neilsens Screamer

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Previous Transfer Approach
« on: March 30, 2020, 05:46:41 PM »
I haven’t seen this posted and I was going to put it in the transfer rumour thread but couldn’t find it, this article from The Athletic gives an insight into our transfer strategy.
.............

Aston Villa’s class of 2015-16 were ridiculed by supporters and subjected to a torrent of abuse upon relegation — labelled as one of the worst Premier League teams ever.

There were problems from start to finish. Villa saw key players Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar leave the club before a ball was kicked in anger.

Two managers, Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde, departed during the season, experienced players struggled with either injuries or a loss of form, owner Randy Lerner wanted to sell the club and chief executive Tom Fox, sporting director Hendrik Almstadt and head of recruitment Paddy Riley were all untested.

Ask any Villa fan why their club was relegated that season and the words “poor” and “recruitment” will feature in their answer.

But were the club’s talent-spotters actually ahead of the curve with the young players they signed? The subsequent successes of summer 2015 recruits Adama Traore, Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Ayew, Jordan Amavi and Jordan Veretout elsewhere suggest so.

Villa also came close to adding Joe Gomez and Benjamin Pavard to their ranks in 2015-16. Dennis Praet nearly signed, too, while Sander Berge and Donny van de Beek were highlighted as teenagers with the potential to become future stars.

The Athletic has discovered how players were scouted, recommended and signed by Villa at that time, what happened when a position of weakness needed addressing, and the reasons why Lerner was only prepared to sanction big-money deals for players with a good chance to increase in value.

This is the unwritten story of how Villa’s recruitment team worked.

When Aston Villa were putting their squad together in the summer of 2015, Sherwood and Riley clashed over targets. Having saved the club from relegation after arriving in the February of the previous season, the manager felt he deserved more of a say on which players would be signed.

Riley, meanwhile, had a plan to transform the way Villa operated in the transfer window. After returning to the club from a spell as scouting co-ordinator at Liverpool, he gained Lerner’s trust by explaining they should look at ways to get the best value in recruitment, and in turn, save the owner, who was still pumping in around £30 million of his own wealth each season, some money.

US billionaire Lerner made it clear he was looking to sell the club after nine years but wanted to leave it in as healthy a position as possible. It’s why he refused to over-spend on older players and only sanctioned expensive deals that he felt would benefit the club in the long-term.

Every player signed during the summer agreed to a 50 per cent wage cut in the event of relegation but players such as Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley and Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon — targets of Sherwood — had no desire to agree such deals.

Disagreements started early and Sherwood felt let down by what he perceived as a lack of support and an overreliance on Riley’s recommendations.

They agreed to give and take as the squad was pieced together and the manager gave the green light on the arrival of every player. But by the time the window closed, the squad was a mismatch of players — some of them favoured by Sherwood, others by Riley.

With more of a say on who got signed, maybe Sherwood would have got more out of the players that he was expected to help develop.

While the younger players mentioned above have gone on to star for other clubs, Villa’s other signings that summer — Rudy Gestede, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Tiago Ilori and Jose Angel Crespo — have struggled to make an impact since. They did, however, cost less than £10 million combined, in comparison to the £40 million spent on Traore, Ayew, Amavi, Gueye and Veretout.

Here’s how the decisions were made that summer:

As Villa were no longer in a position to sign the best players in certain positions, staff were asked to start thinking differently when identifying players. The hope was to build a young team who could grow with the manager.

Riley suggested to Lerner that Villa use the system that appeared to be working well at Liverpool. It meant no player would be signed without the manager’s permission, Lerner would be able to say no to a target if he wasn’t keen, and in the background, the scouting department would monitor the market, spot opportunities and assess availability.

“We had what we viewed to be the ideal process,” Fox told The Athletic. “We had identified, with the existing manager, the positions that we needed to fill and then we identified multiple players through Paddy and his scouts. We all sat down together in a room and discussed the targets.”

Statistical data was prioritised but it was a multi-disciplined approach to player information gathering that led Villa to their targets.

They recruited Sam Green, a data scientist, as head of research. He arrived on the recommendation of Ian Graham, who works in the same position at Liverpool. Green was 33 and joined from leading football stats provider Opta.

Using mathematical modelling techniques, he looked at trends and patterns in performances from individuals that could be targeted.

“The plan was to work out the value of every action the player carries out in terms of scoring or preventing goals,” Green told The Athletic.

“Say we’re looking at a midfielder… If he completes a pass sideways, that wouldn’t particularly affect his rating but winning a header from a set-piece, or making an interception in the final third, would count for more. We would then combine everything the player does in the context of the game to get a ‘goal value’.

“I’d then work in collaboration with the scouts to cross-reference the players they filed positive reports on and also suggest other similar players as alternatives, based on my findings.”

Watching video clips and crunching numbers was part of the scouting. There was a database of players who were constantly monitored and rated.

This database was designed so that when a position needed filling, Riley — now the elite performance manager for the Premier League — could look at the options available and decide which possible signings needed additional checks.

Each scout had a region to cover. Every major European league was watched by scouts on the ground and the top tiers in other “minor” countries were also monitored, but largely only through video analysis until a player became of serious interest. Success stories, such as Edin Dzeko moving from Czech club Teplice to Germany’s Wolfsburg, and Yaya Toure and Henrikh Mkhitaryan going on to greater things from Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine were often highlighted as good examples of why it was important not to ignore these regions.

One example where Villa missed out was when Janne Wilkman, their scout for Scandinavia, was encouraged to check out a young Sander Berge, who was breaking through with Norwegian side Valerenga at the time. The midfielder was 17 then and available for less than £1 million. Progress had been made when it came to considering a move for him but there wasn’t enough push or desire to get a deal done at a time when Villa were trying to recruit for their first team. Berge joined Sheffield United from Belgium’s Genk for £22 million in January, becoming their record signing.

Months of preparation often went into identifying a target and there was a detailed process to get to that stage.

When a position needed filling — left-back, for example, as it’s understood Amavi was one of the first players Villa were in for when Riley returned — all scouts were asked to feed additional information about left-backs on their patch into the database.

Most players had been analysed and reviewed, so it was a case of picking out the best performers based on previous work and then finding out more about that individual.

Each scout had a “recommended to sign” and “monitored” list, where they would flag up potential targets using the software Scout7.

A player could only be added to the former list if the scout had awarded him a rating of a particular level, sought an additional report from another scout on the staff and provided all the relevant information about what the finances were likely to be should the club decide to make a move.

Scouts would meet up every fortnight in the “war room” at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground to gather resources and decide on cross-referencing measures. Riley would pull together all the players recommended by his scouts, compare data gathered by Green, and formulate one final list of targets to present to the manager based on whether the club would be able to afford them or whether their respective club would allow them to leave.

The checking and challenging system was in place to help make informed decisions. They wouldn’t always be the right ones as every transfer has an element of risk attached but in the case of Amavi, a full-back who is now playing for second-placed Ligue 1 side Marseille and has the second-highest Whoscored rating of any left-back in France this season, it’s clear he had the qualities to succeed.

Then aged 21 and playing for mid-table Nice, Amavi had received rave reviews from Leon Collins, Villa’s regional scouting manager, who is now employed by sports agents Stellar Group. He was the man responsible for putting the early ground work in.

Collins, was 38 and had joined Villa after 10 years with Manchester City. He was encouraged by the speedy Amavi’s attacking qualities and filed positive reports. “Out of all the players Villa signed that summer, he was certainly one who we felt would hit the ground running because of his personality,” Collins told The Athletic.

“France was my market and I was encouraged by his performances. We were looking for wing-backs because Tim wanted to play with three at the back but in the end, he didn’t really try that system.

“The best times for us were always the meetings with the manager when he set out his thoughts and explained what he was looking for. It meant that we had a focus rather than just making general recommendations.”

Everton’s Luke Garbutt, these days on loan to Ipswich Town in League One, was an alternative option but his wages were considerably higher than Amavi’s and he wasn’t rated by the scouts. Sherwood wasn’t entirely convinced but a deal was done with Nice.

A player Sherwood was very much on board with was Gueye, now a star for Paris Saint-Germain.

The midfielder had been tracked by Collins at Lille. Sherwood was after a player who could get around the pitch, break up play and put tackles in. There was always a concern that Delph — who moved to Manchester City that summer — would leave, so a contingency plan was drawn up.

It’s understood that during a meeting, first-team regional scouting manager, Lee Sargeson, flagged up “a talented little midfielder” at Caen called N’Golo Kante as a player who should also be considered. Collins was asked to find out more and soon backed up the suggestion with positive reports. Green added further data to explain why they were both players of interest.

All this information was pulled together and presented to Sherwood. Steven Nzonzi, a midfielder at Stoke City, was added to the list and was initially the manager’s preferred choice but his wage demands were too high and he ended up moving to Sevilla. Sherwood soon warmed to the idea of Gueye anyway and was keen to get him on board.

The decision to insert a £7.1 million release clause into his contract in the event of relegation was heavily criticised when he left for Everton the following summer after Villa not only went down but finished rock bottom.

But a source told The Athletic that if the clause had not been included, the Senegal international wouldn’t have joined in the first place. There was no release clause had Villa stayed in the Premier League.

Kante would join Leicester City soon after, ironically as a third-choice target after they had missed out on both Gueye and Veretout — players who they had previously made their top priorities.

Riley had started to build a new team behind the scenes and the emphasis was placed on younger staff with bright, new ideas. Some hadn’t played, scouted or managed at a high level but they quickly bought into the new approach, were passionate about their jobs, and willing to make up for their lack of experience with hard work and determination.

Simon Ward, a 24-year-old journalist, was recruited on a short-term contract to cover the Spain and Portugal region. Externally, the move was criticised, yet Ward excelled in the role and was the man to recommend Traore.

The young scout moved to Madrid and immersed himself in Spanish culture. He put Traore, then a 19-year-old Barcelona B winger, forward after watching his performances closely and finding out more information about his situation with the Catalan giants. The feedback highlighted defensive issues but after cross-referencing, the general feeling was that the positives outweighed the negatives.

“There were two players that stood out for future potential — Adama and Dele Alli (before he moved from MK Dons to Tottenham Hotspur in February 2015),” Green said. “The scouting reports showed that some parts of his game were lacking but others were literally off the charts.”

Green provided extra data to back up why it made sense to move for him. Sherwood was also on board but he preferred a move for Lennon, who had been a regular for him during his spell as Tottenham manager two seasons earlier.

There wasn’t necessarily a reluctance on his part to sign Traore — it was just that he favoured Lennon and his Premier League experience.

Signing both would have been ideal as there would have been less pressure on Traore, a raw teenage talent, to produce but England international Lennon’s wage demands were too high for Lerner.

The Villa owner was excited by Traore though, so much so that he came over to the UK to meet him after he signed. Traore’s mother was concerned about letting him leave Spain at such a young age, and like others, he needed more guidance during those early days at the club.

Integration was a big problem. Traore was keen to impress and spent extra hours training either at Bodymoor Heath or at home in nearby Wishaw. He rented a property close by and would invite his friends around to play football. The Athletic has been told how the owner of the house would complain to Villa because he left “ball marks” on the garage door. Those were his only issues. He was just a boy that needed to grow into a man.

Traore has since blossomed into one of the most exciting attackers in the world down the road at Wolverhampton Wanderers, via two years at Middlesbrough.

The man who put the groundwork in on him, Ward, now scouts for Bournemouth in Spain. Indeed, not a single scout from that period remains at Villa. It’s understood there were as many as 10 working in various regions but they have all now been replaced. Green, for example, works for CricViz, a cricket intelligence and score-predictor service.

When Steve Round took over as sporting director post-relegation in September 2016, he ripped up Riley’s plan and hired senior scouts who had played and managed in the game and were tried and trusted talent-spotters. Maybe a blend of the two would have worked well in that 2015-16 season, or maybe it just needed another experienced figure on the board to bring Sherwood and Riley closer together.

While some of Villa’s processes were detailed and thorough, communication and cohesion was lacking.

“English football was changing at the time,” then-CEO Tom Fox, who recently left his role as president of Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, said. “It was no longer about the manager making all the decisions. Obviously, the manager was never given a player that he didn’t want but part of our plan was that he was supported with a more rigorous process.

“I’m still confident that the process was right. The best teams aren’t a collection of great individuals. They all learn how to play together. It was about stitching it all together into a cohesive team and that’s what proved to be the biggest challenge for us. You can buy the best individual players but unless you have the right system, that ultimately will fail.”

Divides had started to emerge as early as June 2015 as a Jordan Veretout vs Tom Cleverley debate caused problems.

The scouting team were working in unison and enjoying the new project, but there was friction with the coaching staff. Sherwood wanted more of a say on transfers given his achievements in keeping Villa up the previous season. His assistant, the late Ray Wilkins, agreed.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, the former Arsenal striker who was at Bristol City at the time, was a player that Sherwood believed could cut it in the Premier League. He also liked Ben Gladwin and Massimo Luongo, who both moved from Swindon Town to Queens Park Rangers that summer, but there was a real push on his part to get Cleverley once his Manchester United contract had expired.

Villa were not prepared to meet Cleverley’s £80,000-a-week wages demands to make his loan of the previous season permanent, though, and the England midfielder also wouldn’t agree to a wage-reducing relegation clause so the move was a no-go.

Elsewhere, Riley had pushed hard on Veretout, then at Nantes, and was understood to be excited about getting a deal done. After months of due diligence, Veretout had been identified as an attacking midfielder who would get high up the pitch and create and score goals.

Green provided data to back it up and while there was a player ready to show what he was made of, both Sherwood and Garde, his successor in the November, failed to get a tune out of him.

“I always knew he was going to be a slow-burner, a player who probably needed a season in England before he really settled in,” said Collins, who scouted him at Nantes. “We were mindful that his value would go up significantly the next season, so it’s why the club wanted to act.”

Veretout, who has since excelled at Fiorentina and now Champions League-chasing Roma, both in Serie A, struggled to settle into life in England. He was quiet, didn’t socialise with the rest of the group, couldn’t speak English, and showed no passion to learn it. He was also living at the Belfry Hotel & Golf Club, 12 miles north-east of Birmingham, for three months with his wife and newborn baby.

Former player liaison officer Lorna McClelland offered Veretout a number of housing options but he took much longer than expected to make his choice.

While McClelland was well-liked and an expert in her field, it’s accepted she needed more help in a summer when there were 12 new arrivals. “It’s not a job for just one person — you need a team of staff in that department,” one source says.

Maybe a more detailed look into his character was also needed. “Villa’s scouts at the time identified some really good players; that’s clear to see now,” another source added. “With the assistance of some additional staff members who had contacts inside clubs, it might have helped the club make better decisions.”

After missing out on Cleverley, who instead moved from Old Trafford to Everton that July, Sherwood began to question whether the recruitment team were backing him.

It’s why there was compromise for players such as Richards and Lescott. The manager wanted both because they were vocal, leader-type figures. He also pushed for Ayew, who is now starring for Crystal Palace and was Villa’s seven-goal top scorer in that doomed season.

Crespo and Liverpool loanee Ilori were cheap options to top up the squad. Gestede was a blunder — Villa didn’t play to his strengths but asking him to replace Benteke up front was too tall a task.

Research had highlighted that the towering Blackburn Rovers striker had scored more headed goals than anyone else in the top four divisions of English football when he signed. Had Villa found a way to get balls into the box from wide positions more often, it might have worked. After all, Sherwood’s plan was to play 3-5-2, but he rarely used it.

The thinking behind Gestede was that at just £6 million, he was cheap and a player who could help Villa back up from the Championship in the event of relegation.

In the same summer, Leicester City’s title hero-to-be Jamie Vardy was offered to Villa but there was a reluctance to take it any further. Troy Deeney of Watford was also under consideration.

With Lerner looking to sell, Villa were not in the market for high-profile, big-name signings. If an older player was cheap, the owner would sanction it. If a young player with potential appealed, the recruitment team had to prove he could improve the squad or become a more valuable asset in the future.

To help simplify things, Green pulled together information on player demographics, splitting up various age groups ranging from 18-20 all the way up to 33-and-over. The general findings and feedback based on previous transfers that had taken place and what happened next were given to Riley to assist when presenting targets to the board.

That information helped Lerner understand the risk he was taking and what benefits and drawbacks come with players from each age category. The benefit of signing a player aged 33-plus, for example, was that he could help the younger players develop. The concern, however, was whether they would be able to recover from injury.

Appearance records over the previous four seasons would be heavily scrutinised when Lescott, for example, was signed. His combined record for Manchester City and then West Bromwich Albion was good, so there were no obvious concerns.

At The Hawthorns in the season before arriving at for Villa, the 32-year-old centre-back would often sit out of training sessions to manage his body, but this was more a sign of a player coming towards the end of his career than one suffering from an underlying injury.

The signing of Lescott didn’t work out but he was cheap, costing an initial £400,000 plus wages, and that’s one of the reasons why Lerner sanctioned it. Richards was a free transfer from Manchester City, and only 26.

There were others that slipped through the net. Now title-bound Liverpool and England defender Joe Gomez, World Cup 2018 winning France full-back Benjamin Pavard and Dennis Praet were the ones that came closest.

Praet, now at Leicester, visited the training ground for discussions over a move from Anderlecht but a deal could not be agreed and he signed for Sampdoria instead. That’s three more international players who are at the top of their game that could have been added to the list.

Despite how badly the season panned out on the pitch — Villa were relegated after finishing last with just 17 points, half as many as 19th-placed Norwich City, having won only three of their 38 games — there was an attention to detail and a plan in place, at least in the recruitment department, about a way forward.

Staff even went as far as analysing reports from scouts to see whether the rating they had given various players, accurately mirrored the words they had used to describe performance.

The successes of some of the players since shows how things could easily have been oh so different.

Offline Rotterdam

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 06:30:23 PM »
Interesting stuff.
The point about the scouting team not being football people resonates. A good pal works high up,in the FA. He's been there about eight years now, but initially he faced a lot of questions regarding his knowledge and his sporting background. He wasn't a former player, a professional sportsperson or involved at a high level of coaching. This seemed to iratate some, but he was qualified for the role and has excelled. According to him this attitude still exists and that is why we have the football merry-go-round, with ex-players getting jobs back in the game or the media and being out of their depth.

Online Mister E

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2020, 07:02:53 PM »
Fascinating.
I note that Dim Tim's preferred options tended to be those with Premier League experience, rather than the untried potentials. Perhaps more of a mix might have worked, but Lerner clearly didn't want to bring the commensurate wages onto the Villa books.
Cleverley on £80k a week?! WTF?

Offline brontebilly

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2020, 07:05:08 PM »
No matter who we signed that summer, we were doomed with a clown coach, woeful board and a toxic core of experienced players. Some clearly talented players were signed but we couldn't provide them with the structure to succeed. Seems like we dodged some serious bullets with some of Sherwoods targets, Cleverley, Lennon, Adebayor et al....

Offline Luffbralion

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2020, 08:08:33 PM »
No matter who we signed that summer, we were doomed with a clown coach, woeful board and a toxic core of experienced players. Some clearly talented players were signed but we couldn't provide them with the structure to succeed. Seems like we dodged some serious bullets with some of Sherwoods targets, Cleverley, Lennon, Adebayor et al....

Very interesting article. The core of the team had been lost (Benteke, Delph, Vlaar) and replaced  utterly inadequately. Did anybody really believe Rudy Gestede could follow in CB's footsteps? I remember during that time thinking that Amavi, Ayew, Gueye and Vertout all had real potential. However, Sherwood's (apparent) signings were abysmal flops and provided no leadership or cohesion. Once things began to unravel the blame game started and divisions within the camp became toxic.

Offline Legion

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2020, 08:09:56 PM »
It is impressive. Written, perhaps surprisingly, by Gregg Evans.

Offline PaulTheVillan

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 08:21:18 PM »
No matter who we signed that summer, we were doomed with a clown coach, woeful board and a toxic core of experienced players. Some clearly talented players were signed but we couldn't provide them with the structure to succeed. Seems like we dodged some serious bullets with some of Sherwoods targets, Cleverley, Lennon, Adebayor et al....

Very interesting article. The core of the team had been lost (Benteke, Delph, Vlaar) and replaced  utterly inadequately. Did anybody really believe Rudy Gestede could follow in CB's footsteps? I remember during that time thinking that Amavi, Ayew, Gueye and Vertout all had real potential. However, Sherwood's (apparent) signings were abysmal flops and provided no leadership or cohesion. Once things began to unravel the blame game started and divisions within the camp became toxic.

Did Sherwood really want them? Were they signed above his head? Didn't he want Adebayor, Townsend and others?

Like Smith wanted Behrama & Philips?

I'm just not sure the Director of Football approach works when it seems managers don't have a say

Offline brontebilly

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2020, 09:03:03 PM »
No matter who we signed that summer, we were doomed with a clown coach, woeful board and a toxic core of experienced players. Some clearly talented players were signed but we couldn't provide them with the structure to succeed. Seems like we dodged some serious bullets with some of Sherwoods targets, Cleverley, Lennon, Adebayor et al....

Very interesting article. The core of the team had been lost (Benteke, Delph, Vlaar) and replaced  utterly inadequately. Did anybody really believe Rudy Gestede could follow in CB's footsteps? I remember during that time thinking that Amavi, Ayew, Gueye and Vertout all had real potential. However, Sherwood's (apparent) signings were abysmal flops and provided no leadership or cohesion. Once things began to unravel the blame game started and divisions within the camp became toxic.

Plus the likes of Gabby scrounging around picking up his wages while being clearly overweight. On Gestede, I had watched him a few times for Blackburn the season before including a cup game v Liverpool where he bullied them. Blackburn played a very direct game but I certainly thought he would be a useful addition at the time.

Richards career was in free fall by then, flopping at Fiorentina. Captain, four year deal and centre back.... Lescott played against us in the cup a few months before he signed and was torn a new one. Another lazy signing that bombed spectacularly.

We had been circling the relegation drain for a few seasons then, very difficult for any young players in that situation. They all sunk without trace as did the likes of Grealish.

Offline The Left Side

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2020, 09:03:42 PM »
Very well written and quite eye-opening.

Online Sexual Ealing

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2020, 10:19:39 PM »
Some of the most forward-thinking people we've ever employed finally put in place, with Sherwood in charge of them. One could weep. They quickly realise that fucko has to go earlu on, and yet the team of people who'd really done their jobs took the bulk of the blame. Insane.

Offline Newby

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2020, 10:27:44 PM »
You can bring in who you like but if the manager is Sherwood, the Assistant is Ray Wilkins, an alcoholic (sorry Ray) and a fat bloke who was the fitness coach, what chance did we ever have?  There were splits right from the very start and Sherwood is too much about himself to recognise it.

Offline OCD

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2020, 01:12:15 AM »
It is a good article but Richards wasn’t a free transfer from Man City. He was a £5m signing from Fiorentina.

The scouting appears vindicated. The leadership was wrong, the integration was wrong and not enough thought given to what was already in place. Bringing in exciting young talent from abroad is one thing but relying on them to step up immediately and lead everyone else is asking a lot. If there had been a solid core already in place it may have worked.

Offline cdbullyweefan

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2020, 01:31:12 AM »
Richards was a free transfer, and he was never Fiorentina's player to sell, they only had him on loan.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/33174896
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 01:33:09 AM by cdbullyweefan »

Online Mister E

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2020, 09:07:24 AM »
No matter who we signed that summer, we were doomed with a clown coach, woeful board and a toxic core of experienced players. Some clearly talented players were signed but we couldn't provide them with the structure to succeed. Seems like we dodged some serious bullets with some of Sherwoods targets, Cleverley, Lennon, Adebayor et al....

Very interesting article. The core of the team had been lost (Benteke, Delph, Vlaar) and replaced  utterly inadequately. Did anybody really believe Rudy Gestede could follow in CB's footsteps? I remember during that time thinking that Amavi, Ayew, Gueye and Vertout all had real potential. However, Sherwood's (apparent) signings were abysmal flops and provided no leadership or cohesion. Once things began to unravel the blame game started and divisions within the camp became toxic.

Did Sherwood really want them? Were they signed above his head? Didn't he want Adebayor, Townsend and others?

Like Smith wanted Behrama & Philips?

I'm just not sure the Director of Football approach works when it seems managers don't have a say
I think that is the point of the article. The piece is exactly about the tension between a manager being judged on short-term results (c.f. Dim T wanting Nzonzi and getting Gueye) and the DoF bringing in potential; exactly what we've seen from this season.The 'buy potential and play fast and loose' strategy is fine if you have a blend of youth and experience, a very good and flexible coach, a fit and motivated set of players and an accepting fanbase. In both 2015 and now, the first 3 criteria were not achieved.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 09:09:00 AM by Mister E »

Online KevinGage

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Re: Previous Transfer Approach
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2020, 10:07:02 AM »
A lot of that reads like an attempted rehabilitation of Tom Fox. By Tom Fox. We've seen previous utterings from the Smegmesiter.  We know his works, this reads too well for him.

The transfer policy didn't work because we got relegated. And stank out the league doing so.

Even if we had finally got on board with data and more detailed player analysis that summer (when other sides had been using it years before) Sherwood was Tom Fox's choice of manager. And Sherwood wanted to be an old school call-all-the-shots manager. For good or for ill.  You don't employ a bloke like that and then cut off his legs with transfer committees and the like.

 


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