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By Lee Mooney.
Finding first-team defensive midfielders
This is the third of four short pieces aimed at identifying players to fill four playing roles (identified following a quick survey I did on Twitter):
- Defensive midfield; and
- Right wing/forward.
The approach and techniques used are the same as those described in a TTT piece I wrote in March called ‘A Model to Identify Players’. If you haven’t read this piece, you’ll probably need to – just so that you understand the method, its weaknesses and the underlying assumptions. The model used for this piece has been modified slightly and uses newer data – but the basic ‘core’ remains unchanged.
Typically, I like to provide links to these dashboards so that you can use them interactively. However, because of a connectivity problem, you will need to settle for images (if I solve the problem, I will provide the links in the comments section). The diagram below provides an overview of the talent pool that I have identified, which contains 79 potential candidates. These players are:
- Defensive Midfielders
- Aged between 19 and 27
- Have a ‘Player Score’ exceeding 0.700
- Have made an international appearance OR
- Play for the equivalent of a Championship club or better
One of the challenges with this piece in particular was to distinguish genuine ‘specialist’ defensive midfielders from more generic ‘midfielders’. The technique I adopted was to compare multiple sources of information so that – hopefully – I was able to identify the ‘dominant’ description of the player’s role. This is perhaps 50% science and 50% art, but it’s the best I can do.
Each of the potential candidates has been reviewed in the context of a theoretical LFC budget for the role. Using an updated turnover number of £200m, and a slightly revised budgeting model, the colour-coding is as follows:
- Overspend: more than £9,543,662
- High Spend: £6,816,902 to £9,543,662
- Sensible Spend: £4,771,831 to £6,816,902
- Low Spend: £3,408,451 to £4,771,831
- Very Low Spend: less than £3,408,451
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