Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman recently appeared on the most recent edition of the SAFC Unfiltered podcast and during the show, he spent some time talking about the Black Cats’ upcoming recruitment plans.
The 41-year-old, formerly academy chief at Birmingham City, was appointed the North East club’s sporting director in December.
Appointing a head of recruitment is said to be one of his first aims, and during this podcast appearance, he claimed that “a huge part” of Sunderland’s recruitment moving forward will be the use of data.
He said: (11:19):
“I think having an evidence-based approach is going to be fundamental here moving forward. I know, obviously, a huge part of that is data. I think we have to understand where the data can add value to the process, but also understand the importance of viewing those players with the eye.”
TIF Thoughts on what Speakman said about his recruitment plans…
Perhaps it’s not a massive surprise that Speakman intends to make the incorporation of data an integral part of the Black Cats’ recruitment plans, given that the use of data in football has grown exponentially in recent years.
As per The Financial Times, data analysis is now changing how recruitment in football is done and is helping clubs to ‘make better signings.’
Are you excited by Speakman's plans?
With that in mind, perhaps Speakman’s revelation could be exciting news for Sunderland fans given that the Black Cats made a net loss in the transfer market in each of their last six seasons in the Premier League (2011/12 – 2016/17), and that ultimately led to them being relegated.
You could argue that this spending was a bit of a waste.
Additionally, since that relegation, their recruitment has failed to help them get back to the top-flight, and they’ve ended up in England’s third tier, enduring the worst period in their history.
So, if data can at least improve recruitment at the North East club, then maybe that could play some part in getting the Black Cats moving in the right direction,
It will be interesting to see if that is what happens.