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 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 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.
The Scouting Budget section displays the monthly remaining budget, which can be used for upgrading Scouting Ranges and/or undertaking assignments outside of your scouting range. The final section outlines the current Transfer and Wage Budget, from where you can adjust the money allocated to each aspect.
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. The most common actions are as follows:
Not Interested: Dismiss the report and forget about the player.
Acknowledge: Retain the player within your Scouting Centre to keep track of their progress.
Fully Scouting Player: Add the player to your scouting assignments to generate a full Report Card.
Make Offer: Immediately begin negotiations to sign the player or you can offer trial to the player
You can also choose to ‘Add to Shortlist’ to continue to monitor the player.
The List view looks like 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 grade from A to E (where + and – within each grade indicate an additional positive or negative to the overall grade, so A+ is the strongest possible recommendation) 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 quest for greatness.
A Recruitment Focus allows you to set a series of specific parameters for your recruitment team to use as the framework for identifying prospective new talent. Choose from a range of options to refine exactly what type of player is recommended to you and to make sure that your recruitment team are using their time to find you suitable options for the way you play.
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.
If you make several requests and find your scouting and analyst teams unable to handle the workload, some of those requests are queued up until an available member of staff can be found. These screens list those such requests. It also allows you to easily clear a few queued assignments at once.
The Scouting Coverage section gives you a global look at where you have eyes and ears in the football world. The Scouting Assignment screen places all of your scouts on a map, while the Match and Team Analysis screen allows you to ask your analysts for a bespoke report on a team of your choice as well as the Next Opposition or, perhaps information on a Specific Match.
Every non-player in Football Manager™ 2023 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 that 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 certain location, the quicker they accumulate knowledge.
The role agents play has been expanded in Football Manager™ 2023 to feel more contemporary and mirror the real-life interaction between the ‘intermediaries’ and footballing recruitment departments. They’ll be more involved in your role as a manager and if you can build up good relationships with the ones who have clients on their books at your club in particular, you can engage them in conversations to resolve player unhappiness about their playing time, as well as the usual contract and transfer negotiations.
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 their progress and be informed of any action involving them in any case. 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 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 their profile. A box pops out asking you to choose how long they should remain on the shortlist. Select your choice to finish adding them.
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.
To remove a player from your shortlist at any time, load up their profile and from the ‘Transfer’ section on the 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.
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 (referred to as Pros and Cons in-game) and the potential fit into your team. Each time the player is watched, the information fed back is a little more detailed, accurate, 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 the recruitment team 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.
What is the difference between each scouting range?
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 ranges.
Put simply, the wider the Scouting Range you have, the more players you have access to. Applicable to both senior and youth teams with separate range, they come in different shapes and sizes, with the cost increasing the higher you go.
World: The most comprehensive range 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.
Surrounding Division: 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 with no scouting range are restricted to only those players known by members of staff, which puts the onus on having/acquiring the widest and/or deepest range of knowledge bases possible with the budget at your disposal. You are free to choose any range if it remains within your scouting budget, while also downgrading to add funds back to your budget. The scouting budget itself is used for cost of the selected range 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 their profile and get more information. 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 them or not.
It typically takes three to four full matches of watching a player before your scout can put together a 100% complete report, so time and cost become factors. 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 transfer value and any fee the club are likely to demand (if known). Unless the player has been transfer listed, you usually need to bid their value at an absolute minimum to hold the interest of the 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 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, the 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 them.
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 them. 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 and everything else under the sun – it’s a fine balancing act.
When composing a loan offer, you can set the duration of their spell at your club, as well as your wage contribution and any fee you may offer as an incentive for their 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 by declaring their role in the squad and the position you’re likely to play them 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’ and/or to ensure financial stability, it’s going to happen at some point. 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 like 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 and/or insert 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 for in the future. If you suspect the player may not get a lot of first team football at the new club, or might reach their 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 their potential long-term value.
Your Assistant Manager sends the details of any proposed deal to all clubs deemed 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 their 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 they 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 them 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.
Transfer Deadline Day
One of the most intriguing and dramatic days on the football calendar, Transfer Deadline Day often brings about some of the most unpredictable and high-profile transfer activity during the window. Football Manager™ 2023 brings that to attention with tons of content, media interaction, and all of the latest happenings as the clock ticks down and teams aim to get that last-minute deal over the line.
When Transfer Deadline Day begins, you will be given the option of taking part in the excitement. If you choose to, a special themed colour scheme will be enabled and you will notice a new icon on the sidebar appears called Deadline Day. Here, your Director of Football will detail players being touted by their agents through the day, while the Transfer News tab will keep you abreast of all the done deals, latest rumours and social media reactions to the deadline day drama.