Your scouts are your eyes and ears in the footballing world. Whilst you’re taking control of the day-to-day management of your club, these guys are putting in the hours and the miles so you can have as much information at your disposal as possible.
Squad building is directly linked to success. To put together a group capable of achieving great things, you need to identify the right players to bring into the group, and have the right staff around you to help you do that. FM18 introduces a brand-new Scouting Centre designed to assist you in getting the absolute most out of the tools at your disposal in piecing together the puzzle.
At the heart of everything you do when it comes to player searches and scouting is the range of scouting available to you. Scouting is increasingly done within the club as part of a wide-reaching operation to refine a massive pool of players into a powerful list of potential signings, and it’s all made possible by Scouting Packages.
Put simply, the better Scouting Package you have, the more players you have access to. Applicable to both senior and youth teams with separate packages, they come in different shapes and sizes, with the cost increasing the higher you go.
World: The best package available covers almost every player in the world without restriction.
Continental: Covers almost every player within the chosen continent, an example being Europe.
Regional: Covers almost every player within the chosen region, an example being Central Europe.
National: Covers almost every player within the chosen country, an example being England.
Divisional plus: Covers almost every player within the chosen division PLUS the divisions either side of it in the national hierarchy, an example being EFL League One plus the EFL Championship and EFL League Two.
Divisional: Covers almost every player within the chosen division, an example being the EFL Championship.
Clubs without a package are restricted to only those players known by members of staff, whilst you are free to choose any package if it remains within your scouting budget, whilst also downgrading to add funds back to your budget. The scouting budget itself is used for packages as well as undertaking Assignments outside of your immediate scouting range on a per-case basis and will require monthly management to always keep your club in with a chance of keeping up.
This is the hub of your activity and the single reference point to return to for all of your scouting and player identification business. Everything begins with the choices you make from the bar at the top of the main screen area.
Scouting Responsibility: This allows you to either take charge of things yourself or delegate them to a chosen member of your backroom staff. If delegated, scouting assignments are handled automatically, otherwise you get to decide. You will still be able to handle the recommendations yourself if these assignments are delegated.
Scouting Focus: Determine the type of players you want your scouts to go out and find. A more General focus allows you to instruct the scouting team to identify players based on age, playing style, location and availability, whilst a Short-term focus instructs the Head Scout to pause all ongoing activity to find a player for a short-term or immediate need, based on those same criteria listed above.
The Recruitment Team section details your current scouts and links to the Assignments Panel, whilst the Scouting Budget section displays the monthly remaining budget, which can be used for upgrading Scouting Packages and/or undertaking assignments outside of your scouting range.
The Recommendations panel is the most important aspect of the Scouting Centre though as it’s where you go through the brief reports filed by your recruitment team, agents, affiliates or players directly approaching you. You can cycle through each player report before actioning it in one of four primary ways:
Discard: Dismiss the report and forget about the player.
Keep Scouting: Add the player to your scouting assignments to generate a full Report Card.
Make Offer: Immediately begin negotiations to sign the player.
Acknowledge: Retain the player within your Scouting Centre to keep track of his progress.
You can also choose to Get Analyst Report, Add to Shortlist, or Add as Transfer Target to continue to monitor the player.
The remainder of the Overview screen is given over to sections detailing current Transfer activity, scouting packages, and Knowledge, all of which have dedicated sections linked to from here too.
This is where the heavy lifting is done in terms of identifying new talent and sifting the wheat from the chaff. To begin with, click the ‘New Search’ button to bring up the search dialog.
This enables you to start filtering down to the exact specifications of your player search. Flick between the ‘Quick’ and ‘Advanced’ modes to find the right settings for your requirements and then select ‘Search Database’ to refine your results; these actions can be undertaken from both the ‘All Known Players’ and ‘Scouted’ screens, the latter only filtering through players you’ve actively scouted (and can subsequently be filtered by assignment from the foot of the main screen area).
A host of information is presented to you on each player simply from the Overview view but perhaps the most important is the arrival of the brand-new Scout Recommendation score. This takes the scout’s report on a player and distils all of the information provided into a single number from 1-100 and, in essence, makes for a much easier comparison when attempting to weigh up the pros and cons of multiple potential targets. There will naturally be times when even this isn’t enough to separate them, meaning you have to dig even deeper to determine the best of the bunch, but it’s yet another tool at your disposal in the hunt for greatness.
This screen lists all ongoing scout activity, featuring details of each individual’s previous, current, and future scouting assignments, and links to their reports.
It is quite likely that for one reason or another you’ll have a target you can’t currently sign, but would like to keep track of his progress and be informed of any action involving him. This is where your shortlist comes into play. The shortlist allows you to add players to it for a desired period and for that duration you will receive news to your feed whenever a key event involving that player occurs. To add a player to your shortlist, right-click and select’ Add to Shortlist’ or select the same option from the ‘Transfer’ section of his profile. A box will pop out asking you to choose how long he remains on the shortlist. Select your choice and he’ll be added.
The Shortlist screen itself looks much the same as the Player Search screen but instead only features you’ve added to it. A powerful set of filters can be applied from the ‘views’ menu towards the right of the main screen area whilst the ‘Positions’ sub-tab allows you to break it down position by position (and subsequently role by role) with direct comparisons to players within your current squad.
This section also allows you to ask for ‘Suggestions’ from your Director of Football or Chief Scout for additions to a given position as well as to begin a ‘New Short-Term Focus’ search.
To remove a player from your shortlist at any time, load up his profile and from the ‘Transfer’ section on his tab bar select ‘Remove from Shortlist’. This act can be performed on multiple selections by selecting all the players you wish to remove from your shortlist, then right clicking and selecting the same remove option. To remove everyone at once, from the ‘Shortlists’ menu below your shortlist of players, select ‘Clear Shortlist’ and then confirm your decision.
The same menu is used for saving and loading different shortlists should you wish to keep different ones for multiple purposes.
Every non-player in Football Manager™ 2018 is considered to have a certain level of knowledge about a country. Depending on their experience and where they’ve spent their career both as a player and a member of staff, they may increase their knowledge of certain areas and indeed hold knowledge about different countries and regions.
The knowledge bar doesn’t necessarily equate to automatically identifying the best talent in those countries – the scout’s attributes and overall ability will play a massive part in that. What it does do is allow you to see where they will do their best work and to assign them to countries they know well. If you do choose to assign a scout to a country he/she doesn’t know, over time he/she will gain knowledge from that country. They will also progressively accumulate more knowledge the longer they reside there.
The Knowledge section offers an overall indication of the club’s entire knowledge base; beginning with a world map indication the overall knowledge at the club, then a regional breakdown on the lower left sub-panel, before breaking it down into specific nations (and who holds that knowledge) on the right.
Reports and Feedback
Clicking on any player and selecting ‘Scout Reports’ from their Tab Bar will allow you to access the scout’s detailed reports on the player.
This is the real work your scout does when he or she is out on assignment. They will file a report on the player’s strengths and weaknesses (Pros and Cons) and how he may potentially fit into your team and each time the player is watched, the information fed back will be a little more detailed and informative. The Player’s overall playing style is also featured for comparison with any scouting assignment focuses you might wish to undertake. You can keep fully appraised of how far along a scout is in assessing a player by using the tracker at the top of the screen indicating the knowledge level (%) and the remaining areas left to scout. Hold the mouse cursor over the ‘areas yet to assess’ label to view them in detail.
You can view individual scout reports from the ‘View’ menu towards the upper left of the main screen area, next to the ‘Scout Report by’ label.
You also have the option, when requesting for a report to be compiled, to request a highlights package from your Data Analysts. These highlights will be accessible via the Inbox
If you make a number of scouting requests and find your scouting team unable to handle the workload, some of those requests will be queued up until an available member of the scouting pool can be found. This screen lists those such requests. It also allows you to easily clear a number of queued scouting assignments at once.