This is the hub of your activity and the singular reference point to return to for all 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 can still handle the recommendations yourself if these assignments are delegated.
Recruitment Focus: Determine the type of players you want your scouts to go out and find. Set the tactic you want the main focus to be on, and then instruct your scouts and analysts on specific details you want them to find in prospective new signings.
The Recruitment Team section details your current scouts and links to the Assignments Panel, while 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 as it’s where you go through the brief reports filed by your recruitment team, agents, affiliates or players directly approaching you. It is split into two views – Cards and List – and you can cycle through each player report card before actioning it:
Discard: Dismiss the report and forget about the player.
Acknowledge: Retain the player within your Scouting Centre to keep track of his progress.
Get Analyst Report: If the report card hasn’t been provided by an Analyst, you can request that a member of that department files a full statistical report on 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.
You can also choose to Add to Shortlist or Add as Transfer Target to continue to monitor the player, or you can Offer a Trial where appropriate.
The List view looks similar to the Player Search screen, described immediately below.
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 (or ‘Edit Search’ when a search has been made) 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 ‘OK’ to refine your results; these actions can be undertaken from both the ‘Player Search’ 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).
There is also a ‘Quick Search’ drop-down menu that acts as a shortcut to refine the search results for a particular type of player based on a single criterion.
A host of information on each player is presented to you from the Overview view but perhaps the most important is the Scout Recommendation score. This takes the scout’s report on a player and distils all 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 must 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. The ‘Scout Priorities’ Assignment screen holds details of tasks to watch an individual player in action as opposed to an assignment covering a broader region, country, or competition.
It is quite likely that for one reason or another you’ll have a target you can’t currently sign, but you 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 of time and for that duration you 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 pops out asking you to choose how long he remains on the shortlist. Select your choice and he is added.
The Shortlist screen itself looks much the same as the Player Search screen but instead features players you’ve added to it. A powerful set of filters can be applied from the ‘New Search’ button towards the right of the main screen area, while 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.
Select a player and then use the ‘Scouting’ button at the bottom of the screen to get a Scout or an Analyst Report should you wish to get further information on him.
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™ 2021 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 play a massive part in that. What it does do is allow you to see where they do their most comprehensive work and therefore guide you to assign them to countries they know well. If you do choose to assign a scout to a country they are unfamiliar with, over time they 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 indicating 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.
A club’s scouting knowledge is largely made up of the knowledge of their non-playing personnel, the region in which they play, and any affiliates they can lean on for further information.
A staff member’s knowledge comes from their career history and the places they’ve been tasked with scouting. The improvement in their knowledge is loosely attached to their non-playing Current Ability as well as the time they’ve spent in each country (which in turn opens up knowledge to neighbouring or nearby countries). The better they are at their job and the more time they spend in a given place, the quicker they accumulate knowledge.
Reports and Feedback
Clicking on any player and selecting ‘Scout Reports’ from their Tab Bar allows you to access the scout’s detailed reports on the player.
This is the real work your scout does when on assignment. They file a report on the player’s strengths and weaknesses (Pros and Cons) and the potential fit into your team. Each time the player is watched, the information fed back is 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 gaps in knowledge still to be filled in.
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 a report to be compiled, to request a highlights package from your Data Analysts. These highlights are accessible via the Inbox.
If you make several scouting requests and find your scouting team unable to handle the workload, some of those requests are 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.
What is the difference between each scouting package?
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. It 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. You are free to choose any package if it remains within your scouting budget, while 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 requires monthly management to always keep your club in with a chance of keeping up with the competition.
What is the benefit of undertaking additional scouting reports?
Each time you request a scout report on a player, you unlock a little more of his profile, and get more information about him. The more information you have, the better understanding you’ll be able to put together about the player, and you can therefore make a more informed decision about whether to sign him.
It typically takes three to four full matches of watching a player before your scout can put together a 100% complete report, so time becomes a factor, as well as the cost of that scout’s assignment. You might need to balance the need for comprehensive knowledge against the urgency of completing a deal or moving in early before a market develops for the player.
Making a Transfer Offer
The Transfer Offer screen allows you to compose your offer in as much detail as you like. Begin by deciding whether you want to make a Transfer offer or a Loan offer. You can also offer a trial or make an enquiry from the player’s right-click Context Menu or the Tab Bar, but for the purposes of this section we’ll deal with the two main types of offer to make.
Sticking with the Transfer type, you then need to decide upon a fee for the player. The information panel to the top of the main screen area indicates the player’s current estimated value and any fee his club are likely to demand (if known). Unless the player has been transfer listed, you usually need to bid his value at an absolute minimum to hold the interest of his owners, and most likely you’ll have to offer above that to get anywhere.
The ‘Transfer Date’ allows you to set when the deal will go through. A lot of the time you’ll leave this as ‘Immediate’ so it goes through at the first opportunity but, should you not have the required funds at the time, or if you want to leave the player to develop for a longer period, you can set the deal to complete at the end of the current season.
Once you’ve set the core components of your deal, you can begin tweaking it with Additional Fees and Clauses to entice the other team into accepting. For example, you can break down the payment into instalments, or offer add-ons based on performance or international recognition. These in particular are of interest to any prospective selling club as the potential income in months and years to come can help long term financial security and prosperity.
Many aspects of a deal can be insisted upon by ‘locking’ them into place using the padlock icon (once for non-negotiable (red), twice for semi-negotiable (orange); semi-negotiable means the other party is aware that you want to insist upon it, but you might be prepared to budge if another part of the deal is sweetened), and they can be either removed by clicking on the circular icon with a ‘-‘ through the centre, or removed permanently and excluded from negotiations by selecting that option from the menu produced by clicking it.
There is also the facility to offer a player in a part-exchange deal. This is usually only of benefit if the selling club has an interest in one or more of your players. Your Assistant Manager informs you of any positions they are in need of in the comments panel at the left of the screen. Use the ‘Add’ button to include players in the deal.
Once you’re happy with the package, you can either click on ‘Make Offer’ and await a response, which typically arrives 24-48 hours later, or you can click ‘Suggest Terms’ to negotiate ‘live’ in a bid to get your business done swiftly. In this situation, the other party in the deal tells you what they like and dislike about the offer, with colour-coded references around the screen leading you to identify which areas need further work if you’re to strike an agreement.
Making a Loan Offer
Loaning players typically benefits all parties. The player gets first team football, his owners benefit from the player either developing or leaving the club temporarily, which reduces the club’s wage bill depending on the deal, and the loaning team get a player they presumably want, having offered to loan him.
Note that you can offer a Playing Monthly Fee and Wage alongside a Non-Playing Monthly Fee and Wage. In essence this means that you can try to sweeten the deal by offering to pay a greater sum and/or contribution should the player not play a certain number of minutes for your first team perhaps while not paying so much for the privilege of actually playing him. It could theoretically encourage a team to enter into a loan agreement with you if they are being compensated for their player not playing, but – as with all transfer negotiations – it’s a fine balancing act.
When composing a loan offer, you can set the duration of his spell at your club, as well as your wage contribution and any fee you may offer as an incentive for his club to accept. A series of clauses and loan options may then be configured; for example, if there is any intention to keep the player long-term, you can set a ‘Future Fee’ that you can meet at any time and offer the player a permanent contract.
You are also able to inform the player’s parent club of your intentions for him by declaring his role in the squad and the position you’re likely to play him in.
If your club is short of money and short on numbers/talent, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your additions. The free agent market comes into play here. It’s not just for the lesser teams; clubs of all sizes can find a vast array of talent, particularly in the lower leagues, where long-term contracts are rare, and annual player turnover high.
Selling and Loaning Players Out
Selling players is just as fundamental a part of management as buying. Whether you’re doing it to get rid of dead wood, or to ensure financial stability, it’s going to happen. If you receive an offer for a player from another club, you can negotiate the deal in the same way as you may have put together a bid as described in the previous section.
However, if you wish to initiate the sale of a player, you have the power to set the ball rolling. From the ‘Transfer’ tab on a player you wish to sell, select ‘Offer to Clubs’. The screen is similar to the Transfer Offer screen in appearance.
Initially set the fee you’re aiming to receive for the player. Try to consider the target club(s) and what they may be able to afford. If necessary, ask for less up front and more money over a longer period of time or incentive-based payments, available from the ‘Additional Fees’ section. At the same time though, don’t forget you’re the selling club – try to get back as much value as you can. One such way is to include an additional clause. If you’re selling a young player with potential, try to include a clause where you get a certain percentage of any fee the club may sell him for in the future. If you suspect the player may not get a lot of first team football at his new club, or might reach his full potential, maybe include a ‘Buy Back’ price, where you can attempt to bring the player back to your club for a fee lower than his potential long-term value.
Your Assistant Manager sends the details of any proposed deal to all clubs he deems suitable. If you don’t want a player going to a rival club, tick the appropriate check box on the Targets tab before clicking ‘Confirm’. Any interested parties will indicate as much in the days immediately following by making an offer of some kind. From here, it’s up to you to negotiate the best deal possible.
Alternatively, you can add the player to the ‘Unwanted List’ and have the responsible person, e.g. your Director of Football, manage his departure.
If you are loaning a player out, you may want to consider whether the player is able to play in matches against your club or play in cup competitions (therefore becoming cup-tied should he return to you), and whether you may want the option to terminate the loan early. Additionally, ensuring that the player is going to play regularly and in a position you wish to see him used in is an advisable approach, and there is plenty of flexibility to ensure you’re suitably compensated financially for allowing someone else to borrow one of your assets.