Who is leading the Premier League scouting network stakes?

'Nowhere Men' author Michael Calvin takes Team 33 deep into the world of football scouting

Dele Alli, Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli blows kisses as he celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, April 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

An elite scouting network is one of the things all clubs would like to have in their armoury.

But some clubs are doing far better than others in terms of the quality of their scouting and that is borne out in this season's Premier League table.

Michael Calvin, author of The Nowhere Men: The Unknown Story of Football's True Talent Spotters joined us on this week's Team 33 to talk about how modern scouts really do their jobs, how data-based approaches are changing old methods and just how little money some scouts make.

But he also told us which clubs are impressing most based on his research and this year's top two come out smelling of roses.


"I think Leicester are terrific for reasons I mentioned earlier. I think Spurs is a fantastic example of a club that is now, at long last, operating a really strategic process where the first team head coach, Mauricio Pochettino will watch the academy. He works quite closely with a guy called John McDermott, who looks at all the development of the young players and in turn both of those work very closely with a guy called Paul Mitchell who's their head of recruitment. So basically you have three heads attacking one problem and they're at different areas of the club, but they're all working towards the same goal. That's really essential," said Calvin.

"A similar thing happened at Southampton and ironically enough Paul Mitchell went from Southampton to Spurs because he'd shown there through their system. If you look at Southampton, there's a definable Southampton player and personality."   

Calvin went on to describe exactly what that "personality" is and also spoke about Man United falling behind in the scouting side of things as the club transitioned from the Alex Ferguson era to today.

You can listen in to the full interview on the podcast player or also stream on iTunes: