Football Manager 2024: Find the best players with our ultimate scouting guide

By Ford James, Contributor

Understanding how to scout effectively in Football Manager 2024 is like using a cheat code that reveals all the best wonderkids and first-team quality players. Scouting can be confusing, though. There are many moving cogs to monitor, from your scouts' innate abilities to scouting range, recruitment focuses, and scouting assignments.

Don't panic—our guide will teach you how to get the most out of your scouting team no matter your level.

Scouting basics

First things first, hire as many scouts as you're allowed. Go to your staff page, then to your recruitment team. If you have any empty scout roles, place a job advert and hire the best candidates possible. Judging player ability and potential are a scout's two most important attributes. Adaptability is also crucial as this dictates how quickly your scouts will find talent in unfamiliar regions.
Football Manager 2024 Scouting Guide Recruitment Team
Under the scouting overview, you should select the biggest scouting range your budget will support. The bigger your club, the more of the world you'll be able to scout—and in this case, bigger is better.

When your scouts start surfacing players, bear in mind that the star rating—and scout recommendation grade—are not perfectly accurate. Star ratings represent how good the scout thinks that player is compared to the rest of your squad. Two-and-a-half stars is about average, so if a player's over three stars, you can be pretty confident they're decent enough to start for you.

This is based on the scout's opinion, though! It's subjective, and if they're a poor judge of player abilities, you'll need to take their recommendation with a bigger pinch of salt.

Scout recommendations also account for more than just player ability. They consider things like work permits, homegrown status, estimated transfer fees, personality types, and more. It's always worth taking a look at any players above a C grade.

Recruitment Focuses

Recruitment Focuses were added to Football Manager 2023 as part of a big scouting overhaul. Unfortunately they can be quite inconsistent, and if you don't set them up correctly, you'll have scouts hunting for months without any results.

You'll use Recruitment Focuses to identify players you might want to sign before diving deeper into the most promising ones. Some Recruitment Focuses will be enacted by default when you take control of your chosen club, but these can be optimized.

Recruitment Focuses can be used to find wonderkids or first-team quality players. In the lower leagues, you should focus on the latter, finding players who can improve your first-team squad right now. Don't bother seeking out future prospects until you reach the top division for your chosen country. By all means, if a wonderkid comes up through your youth intake or a bargain presents itself, then go for it. But if you're still languishing in the lower leagues, you don't want to invest all your cash in teenagers who won't meet their potential for a few seasons.

When scouting first-team players, you want to treat each individual Recruitment Focus as a hunt for the specific type of player you want. Ensure the correct position and parameters are selected, then let your scouts fly. You can check on their progress at any time by selecting the Recruitment Focus from the list.
Football Manager 2024 Scouting Guide Recruitment Focus Settings
When it comes to wonderkids and future talent, the approach is a little different. Create a new Recruitment Focus, but make sure "Any" is selected under the tactic dropdown, then tick the "Any position from tactic" box. This means your scouts will look at all players that meet the other parameters you set.

Then you need to decide where to send your scouts, which is the most crucial element. Group countries geographically and always try to send scouts to places that match their World Knowledge if possible, because they will return better results faster. You should prioritize countries that are renowned for producing talented young players—think Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France, and so on. Smaller countries (Norway, Croatia, Serbia, Uruguay, Nigeria) can also be a goldmine for wonderkids, but if you're not managing an enormous club they sometimes go under the radar.

You can be pretty lax when wonderkid hunting because you'll filter through the players your scouts turn up anyway, so set the age range to 15-21 and then dial down minimum ability to four silver stars for current ability and two gold stars for potential. Make sure you tick the box to not include results found in other Recruitment Focuses—this just means you leave room for more players. Then assign the best-suited scout and you're away.
Football Manager 2024 Scouting Guide Alejandro Arroyo
One example of a player found using this method is Alejandro Arroyo (pictured above), an 18-year-old Mexican full-back who would walk straight into my Salford City team on the brink of promotion to the Premier League.

Players In Range

If you're not having much luck with Recruitment Focuses, your other scouting resource is the Players In Range tab. In the scouting overview, you can find this under the Players drop-down at the top.

Inside, you'll find practically all of the players within your scouting range that your scouts know exist. Most of these players won't be scouted yet, so look for the New Search button and narrow down the criteria to find players that may be a good fit for your team. Under additional conditions, set the transfer value to the highest amount you're willing to pay, pick which position(s) you're looking for, set the age range, and so forth. Once you have a list of prospects, select the ones you want to investigate further, right-click, and choose your preferred scouting method.
Football Manager 2024 Scouting Guide Juan Carlos Tenorio
Juan Carlos Tenorio was found using this method, a 17-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder with 20 determination, which is a vital attribute for the progress of a young player. Valued at around £1 million, he's almost certainly going to go on to achieve great things.

Scout Reports and Recommendations

When the scout reports come trickling in, you'll find all of the recommendations in the scouting overview tab. You should also check on the individual Recruitment Focuses because some players will be counted as "Near Misses," meaning they aren't recommended but may still be worthy of signing. As mentioned, a scout takes all factors into account when recommending a player, so if they don't have an ideal personality or don't fit a specific role then they may become a near miss. You can decide if you still want to take a punt on them or not.

If you only have minimal knowledge about a player, you can decide to scout them further by right-clicking and selecting the "Fully Scout Player" option. This will eventually bring back all of their exact attributes, so you can use your own knowledge to decide whether this player is worth it, rather than going off the scout's star rating.

Additional Scouting Tips

Make sure you check national team squads every so often. Look in the youth age groups for players with impressive stats and, with smaller nations, look in the senior squads for any especially young players that have been capped already. Any under-21 players on senior national teams are sure to be decent.

Another trick is to go to the list of all the clubs in the game (Globe > World > Club > List). By default it sorts all the clubs in your game by reputation, but if you search by youth academy instead, it lists all the clubs with their youth academy rating. Identify some of the slightly unexpected clubs here—examples include RB Salzburg, Rennes, River Plate, and Schalke 04—and scout their youth academies when clubs receive their youth intake (usually around March or April). You can poach some promising 15- and 16-year-olds this way, though it is more difficult to know which of these will go on to become stars at this early stage.
Football Manager 2024 Scouting Guide Davor Begovic
Here's another example of a player found by looking at senior national squads. Davor Begovic is only 19 yet has five caps for Serbia—and once again, he'd instantly be one of the best players on my Salford squad. Better yet, he's affordable (with a release clause at under £5 million), and has a few seasons of top flight football in Serbia under his belt.

Finally, if you're struggling for time—maybe deadline day is looming or you need to sign someone as a replacement before selling a player—you can sort the order in which your scouts report back on specific players. Under Scouting > Recruitment Focus, click on Scout Priorities and you can reorder the list so that the players at the very top are the ones your scouts will look at first.

If all this talk about scouting has you wanting to upgrade from a previous game in the series, pick up Football Manager 2024 in the Epic Games Store.