The Premier League season is back underway this weekend, meaning football fans can finally put away their copies of FIFA to watch the real thing.
But, in a strange twist of fate, club scouts are soon to start using data from that other popular video game, Football Manager, to help them recruit new players.
Game creator Sports Interactive has partnered with sports analyst firm Prozone to funnel Football Manager’s granular player data into Prozone Recruiter, an online platform that will use the statistics to build a searchable database of 80,000 players worldwide.
Prozone CEO, Thomas Schmider, said: "Prozone Recruiter has been built to supplement the intuition of scouts and coaches by delivering detailed performance information.
"The Sports Interactive database is a highly accurate and valuable resource that will further enhance the recruitment services that we provide."
The database will trawl through lists of players to find bargains to rival this summer’s £10m transfer of Jack Rodwell from Manchester City to Sunderland, and Jordi Gomez on a free from Wigan Athletic to Sunderland.
On the other hand, it could help more profligate clubs up their transfer bills by helping them gain more insight into every aspect of a potential top signing’s ability.
The biggest spenders so far this summer transfer window include Liverpool with an £89m outlay so far after seeing Luis Suarez leave for Barcelona for £75m, and Chelsea’s £85m spend.
It has been a record summer so far that has seen an estimated £647m spent by Premier League clubs, but with the Football Manager-powered Prozone Recruiter, transfer spending could get even more attention in seasons to come.
Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson said: "For years we’ve heard stories of real-life managers and scouts using our data to help with the recruitment process. From now on, it’s official.
"Real managers around the world will be finding and comparing players using data and a search system that will be very familiar to players of Football Manager.
"The information gathered by our network of more than 1,300 scouts around the world, combined with Prozone’s amazing performance data, makes this an invaluable tool for any football club that takes player recruitment seriously."
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