• Scouted Football

Q&A Mailbag: April 8

We're hope you're all well, and that you're looking forward to another Mailbag. We've picked out a few questions here to answer this week. Don't forget to send in more questions here.

First up, Tiwarii asks: What do you think about Marash Kumbulla, Dejan Kulusevski, Ben Godfrey and Boubakary Soumaré? Secondly, how do you guys do your scouting – and does it incorporate data analytics?

To start, if you want to read more about Marash Kumbulla, please read Phil Webster's excellent analysis of him as featured on our website – that goes some way to summarising our Kumbulla opinions. As for Dejan Kulusevski, he's one of our favourites from this season. He's been electric for Parma, and their counter-attacking style has really suited him. He's great at carrying the ball over long distances and his technique, particularly on his left side is excellent. The move to Juventus throws up a lot of questions, but his talent is undeniable.

Credit: NurPhoto, Getty Images

Ben Godfrey is another one we like, although we're perhaps a little more cautious to be bullish on his ceiling compared to the previous two. His skillset needs a bit of polishing – for a player who is routinely occupied in defensive phases, he has significant issues with his concentration and focus. Having said that, he'll likely have a solid Premier League career, and he has the technical and physical profile to play at a higher level if everything falls into place.

Boubakary Soumaré's is an interesting case. He was having an impressive breakthrough season before the reported interest in January, then LOSC Lille seemed to bench him after he rejected a move to Newcastle they had seemingly agreed to. That could be a blessing in disguse for both parties. As a deep-lying player, he's pretty good at breaking pressure and is adept at finding progressive passes. He's also a dynamic athlete, one capable of covering small and big spaces to counter-press, shut down angles, or mop up loose balls.

And finally, to answer your question about our scouting processes and the role of data within it – we use data in a similar way to how competent recruitment teams do. Data gives us an insight into the standout statistical performers, narrowing down a large field of players into a much more focused pool. Then, we'll follow and watch players of said pool over a period of time to a point where we feel we've watched a suitable amount to be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses, how they fit in certain systems, and whether their statistical output is likely to be sustainable. Analytics are a very useful tool, but they are far from everything and can be misleading. Ultimately, we watch a lot of football – and follow everyone/anyone, of all ages we must add, who look to be interesting players.

jucomsdn asks: What do you think about Borussia Dortmund's current crop of youth academy players?

All the attention is on Youssoufa Moukoko for obvious reasons – he's putting up freakish numbers in Junioren-Bundesliga – but the player we're most interested by is Tobias Raschl.

He does a lot of things needed of central midfielders in the current climate of football – he can pass, carry, dribble, tackle, and is pretty progressive in his actions.

He may have to leave to get worthwhile first-team minutes with Emre Can and Axel Witsel at the club, but there's no question in our minds that he can become a very competent, Bundesliga-level midfielder if he starts playing substantial senior minutes soon. We can definitely see him having a similar impact to what Adrian Fein is/was having at HSV this season, for instance. He just needs an opportunity somewhere.

Credit: TF-Images, Getty Images

The same can be said of Luca Unbehaun too, and it wouldn't surprise us to see him land at a good Zweite or Dritte Liga club on loan soon. As of now, worthwhile first-team minutes should be the primary objective and focus of both.

Cam Wallace asks: What is the plan for the new collectable stickers that were included along with the Subscribers' Scouted Football Handbook – are there more to come?

Thanks for the question, Cam. There are plenty more to come, absolutely. For those of you who don't know, subscribers to our Scouted Football Handbooks get a few more stickers to thank them for their support. They received retro Panini-style stickers of Sergiño Dest and Bruno Guimarães in their Volume V packages. We've yet to confirm our list for Volume VI yet, but we guarantee that there'll be at least two more player sitckers for subscribers.

If you like the sound of exclusive stickers, subscribe to our Scouted Football Handbooks now.

ImGoingBlankAgain: How has the pandemic impacted your company’s ability to produce content, and how it has affected business operations in general for Scouted Football?

An important question, thank you for asking it. As of now, we're still operating at a capacity that is close to normal – while we've had to scale back our shipments, we're still sending books across the world. With there being no live football to follow, we've diverted our time toward producing more long-form writing, which has been an enjoyable change of tact and pace. We've posted a lot of originial content on our website –in-depth features, player analyses, throwback stuff, Q&A Maibags – and will cointinue to do so for the foreseeable.

We're also pushing ahead with Volume VI of our Scouted Football Handbook. We've almost confirmed the 25-player list for this edition, our analysts are working on their profiles, and we have a big enough sample to base our work off. We'll have more news on it soon.

Thanks for your support, as always. You can support us even more by buying one of our Scouted Football Handbooks. We're still shipping worldwide. Stay safe, everyone.