Victor Orta has come in for some heavy criticism during his time at Leeds United.
The Spaniard has a great deal over the transfer policy at Elland Road; which meant last season he copped a lot of flak for the ultimately unsuccessful campaign.
There was a feeling at the club that signings were being made with the future in mind too much; arrivals coming in who could not help the first team and were perhaps being brought in because their value would increase.
There is a desire for immediate success at the club and so far, the club are doing better in that regard.
So, what’s changed? Orta has been giving his view on how to formulate the ‘perfect’ transfer policy; he feels Leeds are getting close to that and has divulged one thing he will never do when signing a player…
What’s the big no-no?
In an interview with SciSports, via Leeds Live, Orta said: “One [team] tried to duplicate the film and book Moneyball in football. In Moneyball, a baseball team was put together based on data.
“The most important thing about data is that it should be read carefully. This would never be possible in football since it is the least repetitive sport in the world, in my opinion.
“Sports such as baseball, basketball and American football are more repetitive than football. However, data can be of great value in the football industry.
“A mix of data, and knowledge and expertise of the scouting department is the perfect combination. I would say that data should be the secondary source of information that can give the confirmation. I am happy to say that we are close to reaching that perfect mix at Leeds United.
“I would never determine if a player is capable of playing for our club based on data only, but at the same time, I would never determine the capabilities of the player without using data.”
Is he right?
Of course, no player should be signed without being scouted first. Data can only tell you so much, but it also leaves a lot out; the attitude of the player, how he reacts to pressure, the standard of his opponents and how popular he is within a team.
There is much more to it than his raw output; it is imperative to watch a player to see how he fits into a team, what his role is and whether he can replicate it at your club.
It is good to see that Orta is learning; although his proclamation that Leeds are near a perfect bland is a risky one; there is no ‘perfect’ approach, which is above making errors.
It moves on a deal by deal basis and there is no way to ‘crack’ it.