Scouting for Success: A Guide to Assignments in FM21

The Scouting Centre… it’s the place where legendary wonderkids are found and it’s the key to taking your squad to the next level. It’s also the place where many tenured FM players have seen their scouting instructions return strong recommendations, only for those players not turn out to be quite what they seemed. Will Goddard aims to rectify those issues, detailing what the Scouting Centre is, how it works in FM21 and how to maximise the assignments you use it to create.

Scouting for Success: A Guide to Assignments in FM21

On the face of it, the many different tabs and dropdowns in the Scouting Centre can be daunting for the less experienced player. However, with care and practice, they can become valuable tools in your quest to find the missing puzzle piece to take your team from contenders to champions. This guide will help you to understand two key aspects of the scouting centre; Assignments and World Knowledge.

The Scouting Centre is your hub for all incoming signings and the pace where you discover new players from across the globe. The Scouting Centre offers a variety of options, but I’m going to concentrate on maximising the use of assignments.

Setting up an Assignment

Click on the Scouting Responsibility tab and you’re presented with the option to take full control of assigning your scouts. Taking full control of everything isn’t for everyone in FM21 (indeed delegation is often the name of the game) but this is one area where I’d recommend you take charge, if you’re serious about scouting.

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Once you’ve assumed control, you can begin setting up some assignments. Think of assignments as a scout’s shopping list, a detailed set of instructions to develop a winning recipe for your squad. If you hover over the Assignments tab, you’ll see that there are three options; Assignments, Scout Priorities and Analyst Priorities. Click on the Assignment page and there’s an option to Create a new assignment. Here you can let your Scouts know exactly what it is you’re looking for – for example, you might need a right-back who’s both defensively solid and a vital attacking asset.

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The beauty of assignments is that they can be as broad or specific as you would like. If you navigate to the Player Type drop-down, you will see that there are four preset options. If you don’t have any specific requirements in mind and are happy to just give your scouts something broad to work towards, these are a good starting place. For example, you might want to sign some younger players to reduce the average age of your squad (potentially working towards a Club Vision objective) so the Hot Prospect option is ideal for you. This means your scouts will look for players under the age of 24 who have good potential for you team (minimum three stars). To introduce more specific criteria, simply click through the Attributes options and/or the Additional Conditions seen above.

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Where in the world?

Once you’ve decided the type of player you’re looking for, the next thing to consider is where in the world you would like to look for that player. To do this, select the Scope drop-down menu – here you’re greeted with a plethora of options. Getting the Scope right on an assignment can make a vast difference to your scouts’ effectiveness and the value of the reports they provide you with.

Every scout in Football Manager has a unique level of knowledge for certain areas of the world. This is usually based on where they’re from and the places they’ve worked. You can discover their World Knowledge by looking at their profile. If you decide to send an English scout who has only ever worked in England to Denmark, for example, they’ll struggle to find the right players because they simply won’t know where to look. The scout will learn, eventually, but it’s not a particularly efficient approach and you’d be better served using them somewhere they’re familiar with. It’s important to keep this in mind when selecting a country, or region, for your scouts to explore.

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Who’s doing the looking?

The last two aspects to consider when setting up an assignment are its duration and the person you want to undertake it. Duration is self-explanatory – if you send a scout to a place for longer, they are more likely to find the player that you are looking for. However, there is a trade-off. The longer you keep your scout there, the more it will deplete your scouting budget.

We’ve already addressed the World Knowledge of individual scouts, but considering World Knowledge for the club as a whole is also a key tool. It’s a pool of all the knowledge possessed by your scouts, affiliates and staff on regions they’re able to scout. At club level, this increases the number of players that your scouts can find or be aware of. As such, it’s a brilliant tool to use when it comes to finding the next global superstar in a faraway region. However, while this will increase your knowledge of players, it will not find you the players on its own. This is where you intertwine the scouts you’ve hired, the scouting package you’re paying for and the assignments you’ve setup to maximise this World Knowledge and find the missing link for your squad.

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Once you have completed your assignment and sent your scouts off to the far reaches of the world, you begin to reap what you’ve sown. After about a month, your scouts’ recommendations will begin to appear in the Scouting Centre and in news items, ready for your assessment. You might even get some additional recommendations that make you rethink your transfer business. But, if you’ve set everything up right in advance, you’ll see more of the type of player you’re looking for and will be recruiting smarter for the seasons ahead.

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