Scouting is an essential process for all soccer clubs, regardless of their size. Soccer is constantly evolving. Tactics change, different styles of play change, and generational talents emerge. Clubs need to find the stars of tomorrow before their competition does.
Let’s take a look at how it is done with one of the most prominent English teams: Manchester United.
Manchester United is known for its scouting process in the Premier League. They are renowned for their “Class of 1992,” which featured stars such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs. The list of talent they were able to scout, recruit, and develop continued with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, who are currently two of their brightest young stars. The club is continually looking for new players to help and develop them to their full potential. Manchester United has one of the most highly-regarded academies and scouting networks. This may be one of the reasons for the club’s longevity and success.
In 2017, the club started a new scouting system and hired around 50 new scouts. These scouts traveled to different countries and continents to search for new talent to bolster the team. They would then report to the team’s facilities twice a year to brief the club about the players they had discovered. This scouting process continues today, with current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær very involved.
The team struck gold with midfielder Bruno Fernandes and fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka who proved to be effective at strengthening their attack and defense. These players were both products of United’s scouting process. Solskjær said he likes to see the scouted players first before making any final decisions. He watched Fernandes play live and was impressed; he decided then to sign him. While scouts are the ones who discover the players, the manager is very involved in the final decisions. Managers trust and listen to their scouts and know that through the scouting process, only the most talented players are presented to the managers.
Scouting is essential and a vital step in ensuring a team’s long-term success. Talent is often found in the most unexpected places, and if a scout is late to see a player, if by just a few days, he may lose a potential player to another team. Hence, a club’s scouting team and process must be on top of their game.
Remember, the stars of tomorrow can be found in any city or country. Early scouting is a key to a club’s longevity and success.