It is fascinating to watch how Premier League clubs are approaching their future succession planning needs whilst strengthening their teams for the upcoming season. I can see lots of parallels with the clients we help to solve their talent problems.
For the purpose of ease, let's consider the recruitment strategies of the Manchester Clubs versus Liverpool.
It is very clear, especially City, that the Manchester clubs are happy to invest huge amounts of money to buy players that they feel are the "ready made articles" and will help their teams achieve instant success. United have certainly blooded a lot of their academy players during the last season but are forever looking for big money signings. City under Guardiola, on the other hand, have a very poor record of developing young players from their amazing academy set up and are happier to spend big to bring in foreign imports.
On the other hand, Liverpool are a well renowned advocate of "moneyball" a process of looking at the key performance statistics and behaviours of players who have not yet proved themselves. I accept that they have made a few big signings, Allison, Van Dijk etc..., but in the main, they have bought very wisely and Klopp has developed superstars. Andy Robertson is the prime example. An £8 million purchase from Hull City and now considered to be a £80 million player which any side around the world would love in their team.
So, which strategy is better. So far, Man City have won more silverware than either of United and Liverpool but it has certainly come at a cost both in transfer fees and wages. Furthermore, can this strategy be sustained when clubs are experience devastating drops in their revenues?
Whilst United haven't yet won anything with their strategy, I do feel they and Liverpool are creating a strong foundation that will benefit their clubs for years to come. They have created a foundation that can be built on even if they are not able to spend big money due to the pandemic.
So the parallel. Our clients are mirroring the latter talent strategy. They are investing in high potential leaders with "a lot of runway". It is a big like moneyball in that that have to predict future performance based on education, behaviours etc... We have seen this strategy work for many years now and I am sure COVID-19 will see even more companies aligning to this approach.
Liverpool have become one of the most effective recruiters in the game in recent years. The Reds have been acting swiftly in the transfer market, securing top talents at bargain prices, often doing their due diligence behind the scenes to wrap up deals without much media fanfare. The club this week adopted a slightly different approach, the very public Liverpool hunt for a left back was a masterstroke and will serve as a warning shot to other sides.