Sunderland have carried out some very interesting transfer business since Lee Johnson arrived at the club and they have been able to significantly reduce the average age of their squad as a result.
The Black Cats completed their first deal of the January transfer window in adding precocious talent Trai Hume to their ranks on a four and a half year deal.
The 19-year-old right back joined from Linfield and will be in competition for a spot in the first team almost immediately.
Johnson explained just how detailed the recruitment process is at Sunderland when he spoke to ChronicleLive.
He said: “We really do look into a lot of stuff – it’s not just a case of Bob from down the road has told (Sunderland’s head of recruitment) Stuart Harvey that he’s a good player, so we had better sign him.
“It comes down to hours and hours of collective work based on knowledge, recommendation, data, video, watching that player with the eye, getting to know the family, Zoom calls, talking to him about the philosophy, doing checks on a player’s personality, their social media profiles.
“There’s so much that goes into it. It’s not just a case of ‘I want that one’.”
The rise of data driven recruitment and the success of it has been one of the main stories and trends in the EFL in recent years and it is intriguing to hear about Sunderland’s use of it.
Quiz: Can you name which club Sunderland signed these 20 strikers from?
It is a credit to Johnson and the club that Sunderland have put such faith in younger players this season despite the pressure for them to achieve promotion straight away.
Rather than keeping a short term mentality and signing players with little room for improvement and sell on value, their long term approach should pay dividends when they eventually make the leap back to the second tier.
With Niall Huggins, Dennis Cirkin, Dan Neil and Elliot Embleton all showing their quality this term, it is clear to see that the Black Cats are learning from the mistakes they made in previous years.
As the League One promotion race heats up in the coming months, Johnson will be hoping that the youthful exuberance within the squad will be enough to get them over the line.