Behind Bayern Munich’s high-powered transfer search?


Despite finally losing Robert Lewandowski to FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich has had a very strong summer transfer window thus far — having brought in the likes of Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch, Sadio Mané, Matthijs de Ligt, and Mathys Tel. Apparently, helping power these bold moves behind the scenes is a software engine!

Per a recent edition of SportBild, as transcribed by @iMiaSanMia on Twitter, sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić and Bayern’s front office have been using a specialized computer software to help them identify optimal transfer targets to replace outgoing players.

The software converts the entire squad and their key characteristics to a digital representation, each player a series of variables. When a player from a certain position leaves, the software scours the market seeking to identify similar data points, in order to find players who fit into the club’s profile and also estimate the financial bill associated with bringing them in.

This helps supplement, automate and inform the squad planning process already in place at the front office, though it’s not specified how flexible the tool is when it comes to rare players that might, for one reason or another, be outside the traditional search parameters.

Naturally, social media has already had a bit of fun with this concept, suggesting that Brazzo and Bayern’s front office is simply playing Football Manager to decide who to go after. But it’s hard to argue with, even comically, the way this summer’s transfer window has turned out. Even if there’s no further business before the September 1st deadline, it’s been an enormous success.

Being able to get more insight in how the software models players would be incredibly interesting. It’s especially intriguing to think that the attacking reinforcements in the wake of Lewandowski’s departure — Sadio Mané and Mathys Tel — were identified or at least approved using these tools. What precisely did the computer see to decide that they could replace Lewy’s out-of-this-world goal production?

Udo Lattek und Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sit at a computer in 1983, watching an old soccer video game play out on the screen.

‘What do you think, Udo?’
Photo by Frank Leonhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Personally, I think of it as a sort of software where it’s got the equivalent of all of Transfermarkt’s data built in and accessible with the click of a button and is able to immediately compute what it would cost to sign a player and would it would do in terms of their net spending for any one window. Additionally, it would have all of the player’s agents and agencies attached, factoring in previous transfer fees and market trends. Quite the operation, just on the data collection front!

These, of course, are just thoughts. We don’t know, specifically, what what the software is like — or the extent to which it’s used.