When former astrophysicist and Treasury policy adviser Laurie Shaw tweeted in January that he was joining Manchester City, the football world was abuzz.
While data analysts are becoming more common off the pitch, Mr Shaw became one of the most high-profile signings.
He will be heading up a team of data analysts who use millions of stats about players' performance and the upcoming opposition to help the club's chances of winning - worrying news for City's rivals, perhaps, as they are already on a 21-match winning streak.
While the use of data and technical analysis has become essential for today's football clubs it is no longer confined to the big Premier League teams. Smaller clubs are getting in on the action too, thanks to cheaper and more accessible software.
One such tool is optical tracking, which can be used to pinpoint the position of players on the pitch 25 times a second, in relation to the ball, opposition and team mates.
There is also ball-related data such as passes, shots and turnovers, while more advanced tools can analyze defensive stability, pitch control and off-ball scoring opportunities.