Billy Beane revolutionised baseball by using stats-driven recruitment formulas to find the most effective ball players at the cheapest price. Since the remarkable success of the Brad Pitt film, Moneyball, there have been attempts to replicate the formula in the world of football, with varying degrees of success. That is, until now.
It looks like Moneyball may finally be on its way to the Premier League, as Bournemouth FC’S Head of Statistical Analysis, Ian Napton was on hand to tell us.
“We tried a number of different algorithms, but finally feel we’ve hit upon one that works. We’ve been able to successfully value and rank most of Europe’s top players. Did you know, for instance, that Cristiano Ronaldo has a worse pass completion rate than Joe Allen? On that basis we’d value him at about £4.3 million.”
Asked how these numbers drive recruitment, Mr Napton explained, “We’ve identified several players we think are well below market value. For example, Joselu, while having contributed no goals for Newcastle United, and despite looking and playing like he has a bad bout of diphtheria, is actually one of the world’s most effective breathers, taking up to 120 breaths per minute. On this basis we’ve offered Newcastle £46m for his signature.”
They won’t be stopping there either, “Other underrated gems include Everton’s Oumar Niasse, who is one of the games most prolific winners of 50/50 challenges that aren’t quite 50/50, so we’ve lodged a bid there. Also, people think that Simon Mignolet is an error-prone wally, but our stats show that he has the best foot size to hand span ratio in the league. We’re sure he’ll be a massive success.”