Scouting in Football Manager 2017 - How to do it properly.
For me, scouting is one of the most important parts of the Football Manager series. There is nothing that quite matches the feeling of plucking a player out of obscurity and having him become a club legend (I will always keep an eye on the career of Humberto Suazo for his performances for me in FM 10).
Given that I place such a high importance on the scouting feature on FM, my scouting team is near the top of my "To do" list on any save. So, where to start?
Invest in the best.
Regardless of the level of your team, it is essential to spend on getting the best possible scouts. Paying a little more at the start of the season could end up saying you a small fortune in the long run by unearthing some hidden gems. I would also suggest making a trip to the board room to request additional scouts a priority enabling you to cover more ground in your search for players. Judging Player Ability and Potential are naturally the most important attributes to look for in your scouts, furthermore adaptability and Tactical Knowledge also play a role in making a really top quality scout.
Set up a network.
I like to cover as much of the globe as possible. Increasing your club's knowledge of the globe increases the pool of players that are available to you in the "Player Search" screen. To do this I assign a scout to each 'key region'. I define a 'key region' as somewhere that has a nucleus of countries renowned for consistently producing talent. (UK & I, Central Europe, Scandinavia and South America).
Some regions are more profitable than others and as such it is not worth your time and money scouting certain countries that will probably never provide you with a suitable player. For example: Oceana can produce decent players for your side, however they almost all come from Australia. It isn't worth your scout's time scouting countries such as Fiji, New Caledonia and Guam as they will almost never give you any talent.
Make sure you're scouting for the right type of player.
In my article discussing team instructions, I mentioned how important it is to always keep your playing style in your mind. This is equally important when scouting as there is no point in spending on a player that isn't going to fit your system. I have a core set of attributes to which I want all of my team to adhere and create a filter accordingly.
Get to know the youth intake dates, and get scouting!
It is really satisfying finding a 16 year old with high potential and overseeing their rise into first team legend, but what is the best way to find the best players?
It is labour intensive, but there is a foolproof way of finding the best youngsters in the game, and picking them up for a bargain.
This article from Football Manager Story gives the dates for FM 16, which are unlikely to have changed in the new game. This is your starting point. Next I identify countries that have a habit of producing world class regens (Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Germany etc.) and set a reminder on my in game calendar, this way I receive a news item each time my desired intake date comes around.
Next in the World -> Transfers -> Youth Intake tab you can see all of the players that have been created in the game that month.
The next step is to request that your scouts provide you with a Scout Report giving you a first glance at the players and allowing you to discard those who are evidently not up to scratch.
Finally for the most promising I offer them a trial at my club, as this way I can get a good look at them before trying to sign them.
All that is left is to sign the most promising looking players and to create a team to conquer the world.