This article was originally published at Linked In, March 2020

Last year we began offering information to the football industry. Using one of todays most undervalued resources it is possible to identify the location(s) where football players and managers perform best. Analysis of over 1000 players and managers reveal fewer than 10% based at their ideal location.

At the close of last summer’s transfer window, our assessment of 100 of the highest value transfer deals was so negative that we didn’t publish the report. Time has proven its accuracy. Published a few days before Eden Hazard left Chelsea, ‘Risk & Hazard I’ didn’t predict disaster for him at Real Madrid but neither was it especially positive. Sure enough, football observers recognise this has been Eden Hazard’s least successful season since his professional career began.

On the other hand, Erling Haland’s relocation in January this year, from Salzburg to Dortmund, was a seamless exception to this pattern. Why might this be?

We all recognise the significance of the sun in our lives. On the most superficial level, sunshine tends to make everyone happier. Locations directly below the path of the sun on our date of birth tend to be among the most positive, potentially where you find your greatest ease of self-expression.

We are also familiar with the idea that the moon influences water on earth, especially the tides. Over 50% of our physical body is water so it would seem logical that the moon is a significant influence in our lives. You might even know a person whose behaviour is less predictable around the full moon!

If the sun and moon are significant in our lives, it is fair to assume that the other major planets in our solar system, all closer to us than the sun, also have an effect. On the day of our birth the sun, moon and planets plotted a predictable course in relation to Earth. It is directly under these pathways and at their crossing points that their effects are most intense. It is certain there are locations where life can be difficult and locations where we will flourish.

Such analysis reveals a prosperity influence for Erling Haland in Dortmund that is also present in London. For him, Madrid is a different proposition. Enlightened by our analysis, Alexis Sanchez and his advisors would have realised that a transfer to Manchester United was not a good option. Alternatives might not have provided the same immediate financial reward, but it would have been possible to find a location where Alexis’ performance as a player would have continued to improve, with resulting positive consequences. Now 31 years old, it is unlikely that Alexis will ever regain the momentum as a player that propelled him from Arsenal to Manchester.

French superstar Paul Pogba is also landing short of expectation at Manchester United. It is reported the player and his advisors favour Juventus or Real Madrid as the ideal destination should he relocate. We would likely recommend he departs from Manchester, but for his hometown of Paris where he will profit most as a player. Additional energy is not the key, never something he has been accused of lacking, but greater ‘joie d’vivre’ – not a phrase easily related to his stays in Manchester.

The current situation at Manchester City might tempt some of the club’s superstars to depart. Raheem Sterling is a prime candidate for a ‘lucrative’ transfer to a location where his career might degenerate. Yet unless an accurate birthtime reveals otherwise, for him, England appears to be the sweet spot; the Midlands best of all!

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