PATRICK Stewart used his telepathic powers to help battle evil in the Marvel comics and now Burnley are hoping to use their own Professor X to steal a march in the transfer market.

The Clarets new Technical Director Mike Rigg has implemented a new statistics-based model at Turf Moor since arriving in November, in tandem with a data professor he has worked with closely elsewhere over the past four years.

Rigg believes it the system, which will analyse players in 22 leagues across the world, provides Burnley with something ‘better than anything else out there.’

Since promotion to the Premier League the Clarets have been playing catch-up off the field as they attempt to widen a scouting network which has, up until now, had a UK focus.

Rigg wants to help change that, while at the same time not ignoring talent under his nose, and believes the club are heading in the right direction having invested in products and people.

Burnley are in the process of appointing technical analysts and their stats system puts value, and perhaps most importantly potential, on prospective players.

“The two interesting ones are how he is performing and what his potential is,” explains Rigg.

“What we want to try and do is not buy a player for what he’s done, but for what they’ve got the potential to do.Looking at Barcelona, Lionel Messi is playing at his peak, whereas Dembele has got more to come.

“We won’t sign a player on this, but it will help us look at players, see something interesting and investigate further.

“Obviously for Burnley it is going to be quite hard to go to Barcelona and buy any of their players so if we looked at, for example, Hoffenheim. You have Reiss Nelson, who is not playing particularly well but he has got great potential. He is 19 so that is interesting and that gives us something to go and investigate further.”

Rigg stresses that the Clarets are not following a Moneyball model, rather using the data to help influence what the club’s scouts and management team can see.

“What we are trying to do is to use more resources,” said Rigg. “It is never going to do away with the traditional stuff. What we are doing is using the data to try and help us filter. We are just now in the process of appointing a team of technical analysts who will help interpret this and at that point we have our normal scouts who will go out. So it is part of the filtering process. The work that goes into this is a bit of our intellectual property which we pay for and which we don’t want to share with other clubs and I think we have got something which is better than anything out there.”

Rigg acknowledges that data can only tell you so much, with background checks still important.

“Traditionally, everybody jumps on a flight, in your car, looking at players, writing a report,” he added.

“It’s got far more sophisticated, so we’re trying to use a lot more resources to filter and analyse players.

“Checking social media, looking at their background, references, videos, so we’re developing a system and a team here that will spend a lot more time analysing this and filtering it through to a point where we go to the manager.

“We do all this work, take it to the manager, so he’s happy and then take it to the chairman to see if he’s happy from the business perspective.”

The Clarets are now exploring the continental market with the changing price in English football to some extent forcing their hand.

Burnley have had success in buying players from the Championship – such as James Tarkowski and Charlie Taylor – and moulding them into Premier League players.But even shopping in the second tier is becoming more expensive.

“The Championship net income in the last four years, sales to the Premier League, has gone up 954%, so going back to the Championship to reinvent this, is nearly 1,000 per cent different,” said Rigg.

“Going back to Brentford and buying the next James Tarkowski is a lot more difficult now than three years ago. Chris Mepham goes for £12m, so say we’re looking at 25 leagues, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, or more if we go into South, North America, we’re looking at bringing players into the four groups. Then there are various restrictions, you can’t always bring in a player from South America, Brexit will have an impact, there are a few unknowns.

“But we don’t want to spend a shed load bringing a 16-year-old in from Brazil when we’re not looking what’s under our nose in the villages and towns for the next Dwight McNeil, released from United or City.

“That’s the plan and the details that go into it. We (could) sell all our players and make £500m, then bring in players from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland and it affects the DNA of the club, because we don’t want to spend £125m and get relegated. What I’ve got to do, and this is key, is understand the Burnley metrics. I’ve got to see what Sean wants, what are the standards and what he’s looking for, and with the metrics, we try and use as many different resources as we can, to layer them on top of each other, to help make a decision.

“We will have data from 22 leagues, worldwide. Some of the leagues are far more relevant to us than others. This doesn’t automatically mean we will be going over to the MLS and Argentina and buying wonderful exotic players but it is knowledge.

“But I will stress that is not fool proof. It is just more detailed. There is every chance the manager will go ‘no that is not the kind of player I want’ So I stress that a player will never be forced on the manager. We might be making a decision on a few players and the business says it is not what we can do. That is the challenge.”

But it’s a challenge Rigg is up for.

You might expect, given the information at his fingertips, that he is a whizz at Football Manager.

“I have never played any computer games in my life,” he said. “I started off at Chester running the community scheme and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be a Technical Director one day because there was no such thing as that so it has evolved over time and I am very privileged.”