Scout Reports

Once a player has been scouted you can view all scout reports on him from the Scout Reports section of his Reports screen. To see older reports and reports by different scouts you can use the drop-down menu on the top-left of the report. You can also access a list of all players that one of your scouts has scouted from the Reports screen of that scout.

Read The Nowhere Men for a fascinating insight into the world of football scouts.

Player Ability

The panel at the top of a report gives your scout’s opinion of the player’s current ability and potential ability in his best position, along with a summary that suggests how good a signing he could be. The star ratings given by a scout will be more accurate the higher his Judging Player Ability and Judging Player Potential attributes are. The Player Ability & Performance guide discusses how current and potential ability ratings are determined, along with other factors that affect performance.

The star ratings are relative to other players in your squad at the time of the report and give you an idea of how important a status the player would be likely to have at your club, both initially and in the future, if he joined. The text underneath these ratings compares the player's suggested ability to other players in your club's nation, giving you an idea of what level he should be playing at. The summary star rating is simply equal to the potential ability rating, as this is the highest rating the player is expected to attain between the time of the report and the end of his career.

Once a player has been scouted his assigned star ratings will be shown when viewing lists of players on the Player Search screen, individual scout's reports lists and your own player shortlist. However, star ratings are fixed at the time a scout report is made and so can become outdated. If you need an up-to-date assessment of a player's ability, or simply a more accurate assessment from your best scout, then you will need to request a new report.

Star ratings can be particularly useful in allowing you to easily filter out those players, typically with a potential ability rating of less than two and a half stars, who will never be good enough to be a useful member of your squad.

However, it is important to understand that the ratings ignore many important aspects of of a player's ability, along with other factors that affect his performances and general usefulness to your squad, regardless of a scout's ability. Therefore, you should not base your assessment of a player's ability and suitability on ability ratings alone.

In particular, you should consider the following factors:

  • How well the player suits the role and duty you wish him to play, as determined by his attributes, his preferred moves and how familiar he is with the relevant position. You should also consider the need for a new player in this position and role. For younger players, training can be used to an extent to mould them for a position and role. It is also possible to teach a player to learn or unlearn preferred moves, but this may not be successful.
  • The player's ratings in the fundamentally important attributes Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Composure, Concentration, Creativity, Decisions, Determination, Teamwork, Technique and Work Rate.
  • The player's ratings in attributes which cannot be trained using individual training focus, that is Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Natural Fitness. Determination can be improved through tutoring by a suitable player, however.
  • The player's ratings in the hidden attributes Consistency, Dirtiness, Important Matches, Injury Proneness and Versatility. These may be mentioned in the Attributes panel of a scout report, while other clues can also be found from studying the player; for example, by looking at the Injuries section of his History screen and examining his match ratings and disciplinary record on the Form section of his Reports screen.
  • How strong the player is on each foot, particularly in the case of wide players. This is shown on the Information section of his Overview tab.
  • The player's personality. For a younger player this can be improved through tutoring if necessary, although a good initial personality is still preferable. For a more experienced player who you wish to use as a tutor a good personality and preferably good Determination are particularly important.
  • The age of the player and therefore how long he will be able to play a part in the team or provide tutoring to younger players.
  • The languages spoken by the player and whether any of these are shared by any of your current squad members, as shown on the Information section of their Overview screens.
  • The time it may take to integrate him into the squad, particularly in the case of older players, or foreign-based players with a poorer Adaptability personality attribute, and whether it would instead be preferable to retain your current players in that position temporarily whilst developing a younger player, possibly brought in from elsewhere, to eventually replace them.

Transfer Information

In the Transfer Information panel of a report your scout provides you with an indication of the interest the player has in moving to your club, whether on a permanent transfer or on loan. This will give you an initial indication of how difficult contract negotiations may be and whether the player would even be interested in talking to you at all.

Your scout may also provide you with an estimated cost, which gives you an indication of how much you may need to bid in order to be permitted to start talks with him, along with the wage demands likely to be requested by the player if he is interested. If no estimated cost is shown then this is because the scout does not believe the club are likely to want to sell the player to you, and therefore you are unlikely to be able to obtain him at a reasonable price.

Your transfer and wage budgets will determine whether you can actually afford the player. However, you should assess the likely cost of the target in the light of the importance of the signing and the player's suitability and quality, as well as in comparison with the likely cost of other potential targets. You should also consider what squad status you are likely to give him and how his wage demands compare with the wages of those players with the same status already in your squad, and therefore how the player would fit in to your overall wage structure. In addition, you should also consider the age and the potential resale value of the player. It can be worth paying more for a young player with good potential if he will be playing in your first team for several years or can be sold in the future for a good price.

Your scout may also mention in this panel how long you will have to wait until it is possible to sign the player for free on a pre-contract agreement. This is only relevant if the player does not sign a new contract with his club before this time, which is more likely to be the case if he is unsettled, if he has an ambitious personality and wants to play for a higher reputation club, or if his club cannot afford to keep him.

Finally, where relevant, your scout will tell you how likely the player is to gain a work permit to play in your club's country. For example, if you manage in the UK then you will need work permits for all players from nations outside the EU. Players with international caps and those of higher ability or potential are more likely to be granted work permits, either immediately or upon appeal. If your scout does not think a work permit will be granted then you may need to look elsewhere or instead send the player on loan to a feeder club where he can avoid work permit regulations and gain an EU passport after a few years. You can request a feeder club for this purpose from the Board Meeting section of your club's Boardroom screen.

Attributes

Strengths and Weaknesses

In the Attributes panel your scout gives you details of the player's strengths and weaknesses. The strongest area of game and weakest area of game tell you which group of associated attributes he is best and worst in. You can view his attributes for yourself on his Attributes screen if you do not have attribute masking enabled, but these strengths and weaknesses can still help to draw your attention to specific areas of a player's ability. The specific aspects are the particular attributes that are rated highest or lowest in these attribute groups.

This can be a particularly important part of a scout report, as it can occasionally alert you to high or low ratings in hidden attributes, such as Consistency, Important Matches and Injury Proneness, which may be mentioned as specific aspects. A Player with a poor rating in one of these attributes may be best avoided, or only signed if there are no preferable alternatives available, while in contrast you may want to favour a player with a good rating in these attributes over a similar alternative whose hidden attributes are unknown.

Personality

On the right side of the Attributes panel your scout gives you a personality description based on the player’s hidden personality attributes. This description is also available for any player on the Information section of his Overview screen, regardless of whether you have scouted him. In addition, your scout also gives your team personality.

Personality should be an important consideration when signing players, and you should try to sign players with similar, positive personalities. Further details are discussed in the Player Personalities guide.

Position

In the Position panel your scout tells you what he believes to be the player’s best position, and provides a diagram showing his level of familiarity in all positions. As with personality, this can also be seen on a player's Information screen, whether or not he as been scouted.

Your scout will also suggest the best role and duty combination for the player. However, this is based only on his average ratings in the key attributes required for each role and duty. You should instead form your own opinion of whether a player suits a role and duty by looking at his attributes and also his preferred moves. The Roles & Duties guide suggests useful preferred moves for each role, along with the key attributes.

Generally, you should be looking for players who can play in the roles used in your tactics or roles that you could easily incorporate into your tactical system. However, it can be beneficial to try to sign players to cover a variety of roles in order to give you more tactical options, with preference being given to players who appear to be suitable for more than one role.

Suitability

The Suitability panel enables you to see at a glance the depth and quality of your squad in any of the positions the scouted player is familiar with, as well as the player's supposed ability in each role (again based only on average ratings in the key attributes). This can help you in assessing how he might fit into your squad structure, whether signing him or a similar player is necessary, whether the cost of the player is appropriate considering this and whether another player in the same position already in your squad will need to be sold to make way for the new player.

Further Reading

The Nowhere Men - provides a fascinating insight into the world of football scouts.

Scouting for Moyes - gives the inside story of the life of a football scout

The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders - learn how to think like a football manager.

This page has not yet been updated to reflect new features and changes in FM 2015.

Tactics Resources

Inverting the Pyramid - guaranteed to give you a greater overall tactical knowledge and understanding.

Soccer Strategies - learn the advantages and disadvantages of using different formations in defence and attack.

Soccer Systems and Strategies - teaches you about different tactical strategies.

Coaching the Tiki Taka - learn about the tiki taka style in detail.

Transition and Counter Attacking - find out how to play against different opposition systems.

Match Strategy and Tactics - learn how to adapt your tactics to the opposition and different match scenarios.

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