Clement set to heed the ways of Moneyball

Swansea City's newly appointed English head coach Paul Clement.
Swansea City's newly appointed English head coach Paul Clement.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Swansea's new manager Paul Clement says he is willing to embrace the Moneyball influence of the club's American owners when he looks for signings.

Clement was officially unveiled on Thursday after Swansea marked his appointment with a crucial 2-1 win at Crystal Palace 48 hours earlier to move within a point of Premier League safety.

The 44-year-old has arrived with his own transfer targets in mind after choosing to swop life as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Bayern Munich for a Premier League relegation battle.

But Swansea's third manager this season - after the sackings of Bob Bradley and Francesco Guidolin - will have to work with the club's analytics expert Dan Altman to ensure the new recruits provide value for money.

Swansea were taken over by an American consortium fronted by Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien last summer. They have hired former economics journalist Altman to provide statistical data about players' productivity in relation to their transfer fee.

So-called "Moneyball" is widely used in baseball, after being popularised by the Oakland Athletics' general manager Billy Beane, with major league teams basing many of their signings and in-game tactics on statistical analysis.

Clement is comfortable with using the input of New York-based Altman, even though the system is not widely used in football.

"I'm a believer statistical analysis should be part of the jigsaw puzzle that goes together to help recruit players and assess your own team," he said.

"But it's just one part because you can't take away the expertise of the scouting, calls to get information about a player's character and their professionalism.

"We will be using data as part of the whole picture."

His first full game in charge will be the FA Cup third-round tie with fellow Premier League strugglers Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

The hosts will also have a new face in the dugout in newly-appointed Marco Silva, and both teams could be forgiven for having other priorities than a prolonged Cup run.

Following the Hull clash, Swansea will face four of the league's top six teams - Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea - before the end of next month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'Clement set to heed the ways of Moneyball'. Print Edition | Subscribe