Saturday 21 September 2019

'Moneyball' expert adds confusion to Swansea's search

Wales manager Chris Coleman. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire.
Wales manager Chris Coleman. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire.

Matt Law

Swansea City's next manager will have to work closely with an American former economics journalist who has been hired as the club's 'Moneyball' expert.

As Swansea's managerial hunt was thrown into confusion by a tweet from Chris Coleman's wife that appeared to rule her husband out of the running to succeed Bob Bradley, it emerged that Dan Altman - the founder of North Yard Analytics - is now acting as a transfer consultant for the club.

Coleman's wife, Charlotte, suggested on Twitter that the Wales manager does not want the Swansea job, although the club could still try to speak to him personally.

Paul Clement, who was interviewed along with Bradley in September and impressed Swansea chiefs, has emerged as a highly fancied alternative to Coleman. He is currently No 2 to Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich.

Harry Redknapp has been in contact with Swansea over the possibility of a short-term role until the end of the season, while out-of-work Gary Rowett remains in the hunt. Ryan Giggs has drifted out of the equation.

Whoever succeeds Bradley will have to consider the opinions of New York-based Altman, who has been appointed by Swansea's American owners, Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levein. Altman is seen as a man who can help right the wrongs of the past three transfer windows, when Swansea have recruited badly, by data analysis and statistics - or the 'Moneyball' route. He is already working towards the January window.

Whether or not his theories would fit with those of somebody like 69-year-old Redknapp, who has an extensive contacts book of his own and would attempt an ambitious move to take John Terry and Frank Lampard with him to Wales, is questionable.

According to his personal biography, Altman has a PhD in economics and is a Havard University graduate who wrote economic commentary for 'The Economist', the 'International Herald Tribune' and the 'New York Times', where he was one of the youngest members of the editorial board.

Altman also wrote an analysis of England's disastrous Euro 2016 campaign for 'The Economist' that claimed "the team boasted a bevy of trigger-happy shooters, but lacked a creative playmaker".

It concluded: "If England can produce Derren Brown, why not the country's next great No 10?"

In between stints as a journalist, the 42-year-old was an economic adviser to the British government and is a citizen of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Altman could even claim to have predicted Swansea's current struggles. After their eighth-place finish and record points return of 56 in the 2014-'15 season, he tweeted a message that read: "I've had a look at Swansea City's numbers, and all I can say is, HAHAHAHAHA. Just keep doing what you're doing, Swans, and see how it goes."

On the work of his company, New Yard Analytics, that he set up in 2013, Altman says: "NYA's clients include Premier League and Champions League clubs, as well as other teams, agents, managers, and software developers around the world. NYA believes that analytics can complement rather than replace traditional ways of making decisions, making existing knowledge and practices more powerful." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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