In order to navigate and exploit the transfer market, you need to know the products available to said market. This is where your scouting network comes in, constantly scouring various leagues and nations for talent that you can bring into your side. An ideal scenario would consist of talent that you can bring in for a good price with potential re-sale profit. My own scouting network is geared towards spotting the best talent as it emerges, scouts with knowledge in a particular country will be my eyes in that country. I will scout the major leagues for knowledge of the best players and scouts in the youth competitions to pick to grab the young players early, for cheaper and potential re-sale values are massive.
Investing the time and effort in to doing this correctly can help compensate for what is at the moment a terrible system of bringing youth in from academies in which you have little control of. Completing your own recruitment from around the world will bring a lot of benefits and start to build up your sides moneyball success. Ideally, you want value for money when scouting players. Value for Money (VfM) is an economic term used to assess whether or not an organisation has obtained the maximum benefit from the goods and services it acquires and/or provides, within the resources available to it. Roughly translated to football terms, have you obtained the best players available to you for the least money?
This is why I want to focus on the US, where the MLS clubs offer you with a great opportunity to pick up free talent. In a quite literal way, the US are the land of the free.
Table of Contents
In a nutshell…
Any player not under contract with an MLS club can be signed for free. This includes players from the MLS academies, as they are not registered within the MLS. You can just sign them for free and play them as you see fit. You can snap them up by the dozens if you feel they are good enough, play them, develop them and sell them for a profit, as if it were some sort of conveyor belt of cheap talent. Have a look at the following deals.
The first player was good enough to play in first team straight away and did so with gusto, I sold him for a nice profit before his contract expired and made a decent profit. The second player was a player I signed during my time in Mexico. The Mexicans didn’t want him so I brought him along to South Korea, where he played well and was ultimately sold back to the MLS for a hefty profit. In both cases, the players involved were in their early twenties when they left and were on low-wage deals, so I could have re-newed their contracts if I wanted to, I could have benefitted from their services for many more years.
I actually sold them because like I said earlier, the MLS is proving to be a conveyor belt of talent, so by selling these guys, I free up spots in the roster for other American and Canadian youngsters to slot into my first team squad. It’s like the circle of life, only with virtual footballers in a game. Hakuna ma-fucking-tata, brother.
Analysing the exploit
Now in order to examine the effectiveness of the exploit, let’s have a look a number of factors and see how this one holds up. I intend to look at the following factors:
- Ability of the newgens available;
- Potential ability of the newgens available;
- Transfer-sums for the players available;
- Wages for the players available;
- Availability of players;
- Commercial value of players available.
In order to assess these criteria, it would be best if we took a look at some of the talent available in the MLS right now. Since I am always scouting the MLS, there’s always a plethora of options available at any given time. Just have a look at a few of these youngsters. Just click the images to see them full-screen. These are just seven of the youngsters I am scouting right now.
In terms of the ability of the newgen players available, we can afford to be a bit lazy. The game automatically creates a load of newgens for the academy and non-MLS clubs if they have no players assigned to them. Most clubs have decent facilities, which in turn means the average current ability is on par with what you would expect in most European leagues. Given their age, these are all decent enough for their age. They have decent attributes for the positions they play in, given enough playing-time and proper mentoring, they can be developed into solid players.
In terms of the potential ability of the newgens available within the region, the US holds up nicely when compared to most European leagues. It’s obviously below the absolute top, but there are often quite a few decent US players breaking through the ranks of the MLS sides. Even if you’re not a world class side, you can definitely find one or two cheap gems to strengthen your own squad. These players are, in terms of their potential ability, all in the 120+ region, which means they are decent squad players for a Premier League side and solid starters in many of the weaker leagues.
In terms of the transfer-sums for the players within the region, we’re doing very well. These players are all available on free transfers. That’s right… For free… You can see this as a chance to double or triple your youth intake. If your own intake was poor, just supplement it with some American and Canadian kids. They are free, so even if they never live upto expectations, you can still scrap them without much of a loss. They are low-risk-high-yield investments.
In terms of the wages for the players within the region, it’s not bad. The players who are active for larger clubs command wages upto 1,5k a week, many will join for lower wages than that. That’s hardly a large investment, since quite a few youth players of similar stature tend to ask for larger wages to join your ranks. Even a team on a tight budget can afford to give a 1k-a-week-youngster a go.
In terms of the availability of players within the region, if you’re active in a country where players require work permits, US and Canadian players tend to require one. If they are good enough, they will generally be active in the senior or U21 international side, so they tend to get these work permits, but still, it’s an annoyance. On the bright side, many US players spawn players with dual nationalities. If you’re fortunate, one of your desired players has a European passport as well.
In terms of the commercial value of players within the region, I am not 100% sure yet. Whilst there is definitely proof that American feeder clubs increase your commercial income, I am not entirely sure that signing a high profile American player has similar effects.