Data Analysis: Scouting Serie B
In football, some nations excel in the development of young footballers. Whether this is due to social or cultural environmental factors or to the facilities and level of supervision available to foster their development. While in some of these countries football is seen by many as a vehicle that would allow a young man or young woman to escape difficult economic conditions, there are others in which football is so entrenched. in society it almost becomes an obsession.
Italy belongs to the latter category while remaining one of the most interesting countries in the world from the point of view of football development. Italy’s top Serie A have been experiencing a sort of regeneration in recent seasons and this year in particular, Serie A is home to some of the most entertaining football in Europe. Such is the depth of talent development in Italy, however, it is common for Serie A teams to regularly loan a large number of players to second tier, Serie B teams in order to save these players playing time. . This makes Serie B an interesting league from a recruiting standpoint as you have a mix of players in a competitive environment and although some of the young players are extremely talented, they can struggle to break into the top squad. some of the biggest clubs. in the countryside. this makes them candidates for recruitment down the line.
In this data analysis article, I use data profiling to identify five young players who have performed well so far this season and who have caught my eye.
When I use data in the recruiting process, my methodology remains relatively static. I use Wyscout as a data source, the best option from a cost / quality / depth point of view, and Tableau as a data visualization and interpretation tool. Using these simple tools, I can gain insight into the performance of players and clubs in the football world. I have my own combinations of metrics that are used to identify which players are doing well, but they are also combined with metrics that meet the specific requirements and style that the client club prefers. After evaluating player performance, I then move on to the long list process using custom dashboards in Tableau. These will be presented below and will allow me to quickly assess player performance through a number of key metrics depending on the position of the player in question.
Data is increasingly an important part of the recruiting process when it comes to identifying talent and recruiting players. However, it should always be combined with video screening and live screening in order to provide a full picture of the player before a decision is made.
# 1 Simone Canstrelli, 21, center-back, Crotone (loan from Empoli) and Italy
The first player on our list is 20-year-old Italian center-back Simone Canestrelli, who currently plays for Crotone despite being on loan from Empoli in Serie A. Canestrelli is a right-handed center-back despite being comfortable with play either as the right or left central defender. This season, so far, we’ve largely seen Crotone play in a 3-4-2-1 system, although Canestrelli also comes across as a defensive player who would also be comfortable playing in a four-back. It is listed at 192cm | 6’4 “with an athletic build which suggests he could still add muscle to his body.
As of this writing, Crotone is struggling as he sits 17th in the table, although the quality of his squad suggests he could be higher.
So far this season, Canestrelli has played 561 minutes in Serie B and as you can see from the data profile above, he’s a complete player. On the defensive side of his game, he’s currently averaging 9.47 defensive duels by 90 with a success rate of 66.1%. This was combined with 6.74 aerial duels by 90 with a success rate of 69.05% and 6.96 interceptions adjusted for possession. In the passage section of our data profile, Canestrelli also stands out with 51.82 passages for 90 of which 8.82 by 90 are classified as progressive liabilities and 6.26 for 90 are passes in the last third.
For now, Simone Canestrelli is showing all signs of becoming a capable defensive player in Serie A and he is likely to return to Empoli at the end of this season.
# 2 Pietro Beruatto, 22, left-back, Pisa (on loan from Juventus) and Italy
Next on our list is 22-year-old Italian left-back Pietro Beruatto. He is currently on loan to Serie B with Pisa by Juventus and he represents the perfect example of a young and talented player who may struggle to break into his parent club’s first-team setup and will be available for a potential transfer. He is left-handed and plays primarily as a left-back, as Pisa has preferred a 4-2-3-1 structure so far this season, although he also presents himself as a player who would be comfortable if he was asked to play as a winger. in a three-way system in the back. It is a good size for a rear and is 185 cm tall | 6’1 “high.
Beruatto is another player on our list who is balanced in their outings across the major groups in their data profile. He has, at the time of writing, played 593 minutes and he averages 6.83 defensive duels by 90 with a success rate of 71.11%. He also reads play very well and tends to be positioned to break passing lanes and find opportunities to intercept the ball, as shown by his 10.87 interceptions adjusted for possession per game. When in possession of the ball, he is not necessarily a volume passer because he averages correctly 35.36 goes through 90 with 10.02 progressive passes by. 90 and 5.62 goes to the last third. In the offensive phase, Beruatto contributes well to the game with an average of 3.34 dribbles by 90 and 3.04 cross by 90.
Beruatto will return to Juventus at the end of this season, but at 22 he is now at the stage of his career where he must start to question whether a permanent move may be the right choice.
# 3 Salvatore Esposito, 21, central midfielder, SPAL and Italy
21-year-old SPAL midfielder Salvatore Esposito is the first player on our list who is currently not on loan from a Serie A club. He is a central midfielder who is multifunctional and capable of playing either as a than ‘8’. or as a “6” in midfield areas. This season we’ve seen SPAL play mostly in a 4-2-3-1 system with Esposito playing as one of the two double pivot players at the base of the midfield zone. It is predominantly right-handed and listed at 178cm | 5’10 “.
So far this season, Esposito is on average 51.56 goes through 90 with 9.61 progressive pass by 90, 9.50 goes to the last third by 90 and 2.6 passing to the penalty area by 90, he is a creative passer able to change the focus of attacks with diagonal passes or vertical passes that break the lines. Interestingly, Esposito has developed a threat in front of goal this season with 0.11 helps by 90 of an xA by 90 of 0.15 and 0.11 goals by 90 of a xG by 90 of 0.13. For a central midfielder to register 0.22 The 90-goal contributions at this point in the season are impressive.
While Esposito has been highly rated for some time now, he shows himself without a contract at the end of this season.
# 4 Tom Van de Looi, 22, central midfielder, Brescia v Netherlands
Tom Van de Looi is a 22-year-old Dutch midfielder who is currently under contract with Brescia after joining them in 2020 from FC Groningen in the Netherlands. He is capable of playing in “6” or “8”, but it’s his progressive passing and his ability to access the last third in possession that really stands out. So far this season we’ve seen Brescia show a preference to play in a 4-3-3 system and Van de Looi is very strong as a deeper and heavier passing of those two ‘8s. It is predominantly right-handed and listed at 180cm | 5’10 “.
His passing and ball progression metrics are particularly impressive as in 858 minutes this season in Serie B, the Dutch midfielder is on average 56.54 goes through 90 with 8.92 progressive pass by 90 and 11.75 pass in the last third by 90 with 2.2 goes into the penalty area by 90.
While Brescia is doing well this season and occupying second place in Serie B, there is no doubt that Van de Looi will be in Serie A next season whether he gets promoted or not.
# 5 Orjo Okwonkwo, 23, center-forward, Cittadella (loan from Bologna) and Nigeria
Orji Okwonkwo is a 23-year-old Nigerian forward who is currently under contract with Cittadella in Serie B on loan from Serie A side Bologna. Earlier in his career, Okwonkwo may have been classified as a wide forward, although he has mainly played this season as a center forward. It is predominantly right-handed and listed at 180cm | 5’10. Okwonkwo is able to lead the line as a lone striker where his pace allows him to threaten the space behind the opposing defensive line, although he is also effective in a two where his mobility would allow him to shoot wide for attack space.
At the time of writing, the Nigerian striker has played 760 Serie B minutes and its outings focus almost entirely on the offensive side of the data profile. He is currently averaging 0.59 goals by 90 of xG by 90 of 0.53 taking 3.08 shots by 90 with 53.85% of these shots being on target. To top off his offensive production, he also averages 5.09 hit in the opposition zone by 90 and 4.38 dribbles by 90.
Okwonkwo is the perfect example of an offensive player who spends his time on loan developing the parts of his game that will allow him to become effective at a higher level.
Serie B remains a competitive and interesting league with a mix of experienced players and young talents who develop their abilities in an environment that allows them plenty of minutes against competitive opponents. Among the listed players, those on loan will have to return to their home clubs in order to become important for their club’s first team. If that doesn’t work, they will represent some interesting recruiting options for the 2022/23 season.