Brentford midfielder Vitaly Janelt has revealed how the club outlined their Moneyball strategy to convince him to move to the club.
Janelt joined the Bees in a €600,000 deal from VfL Bochum at the beginning of October, having spent the entirety of his career in Germany before then.
He’s been a big hit for the club since, featuring in every game bar one since his arrival and playing a key role in Brentford’s 21 game unbeaten run in the Championship.
The 22-year-old is very much a Brentford signing, with the club having worked via the Moneyball method to identify players such as him who they can develop and potentially sell on at a much bigger price in future.
It’s a strategy that’s worked extremely well for them in recent years, and he says it was part of their discussions when they met about a move.
“We met in a video call, and the Head of Global Soccer, who is responsible for recording the first conversations, gave me a presentation showing the project,” he told Transfermarkt.de.
“They showed me what my strengths and weaknesses are and what I have to work on.
“We talked about what my ideas are if I play on the six or the eight, how many points you should score in each position or how many points and goals it takes for promotion.”
After narrowly missing out on promotion from the Championship this season, Brentford have gone all out this year to ensure there is no similar outcome.
They currently sit top of the table, two points ahead of Norwich in second and with just three defeats all season.
This year is looking like being the conclusion of several close calls for the Bees, who have regularly been pushing for promotion to the Premier League in recent years.
Thomas Frank’s side have received plenty of praise for their performances this season, and Janelt has outlined what he thinks makes them special.
“I think we are a very strong unit on and off the pitch,” he added.
“Even when you’re not playing, you know how awesome it would be to advance to the Premier League. So everyone here has the full focus on it. The team spirit is great.
“Whether it is a counterattack by the opponent that we all defend together or whether we lead 3-1 and still all work backwards together in the 85th minute – that’s what sets us apart.
“And with the ball, we’re one of the few championship teams trying to play football.
“We want to constrict the opponent at the back and, if the ball is lost, go straight into counter-pressing to prevent the build-up or counterattack.
“There are five-six teams trying to play football like this. The others play a lot on second balls and standards.