As you progress through the game, your Scouting Network is constantly growing and evolving in the background. Of course bigger clubs are likely to have better scouts - therefore a more comprehensive network - however, that's not to say these tips aren't useful for those managing in the lower leagues, whether you're playing as MK Dons or Arsenal, making proper use of the transfer filter system can make a world of difference.
As you probably know, clicking on the Scouting tab brings up this menu, from here you can enter the exact search parameters you want and - as long as your Scouting Network has an awareness of a players existence - a list of names will appear. I'd advise checking the 'Realistic Transfers' box (top right) if you don't want to see the likes of Lionel Messi popping up every 5 seconds.
Narrowing Things Down
That's quite a mammoth list of names, so how on earth are we going to find our target? Well let's say I'm a SkyBet Championship manager looking to poach a loan signing from the Premier Divison, all I have to do is hit Quick Search > Loan Status > Is Listed, then Quick Search > Club > Divison is Premier Division. This will now bring up a list of all known players within those parameters.
From here I can tailor my search by adding even more parameters - for instance Position/Finishing/Age - and by ordering my search by clicking on factors such as Name/Club/Nat/Weight/Height/Value. As you can see, previously scouted players have their star rating evident on the left-hand side, any un-scouted players will have to be assigned to a scout in order to get a full report.
If you still can't find a suitable target, you need to head to the 'Create New Assignment' button up in the top left. From here you can equip your scouts with your exact requirements and send him out on a mission; he will then report back to you on an agreed time-scale, highlighting any targets that fit your exact parameters.
While it's always good to find top quality players via word of mouth - Youri Tielemans anyone? - nothing beats the satisfaction of using the Scouting Network to unearth your own hidden gems. The search filter is the place to go when identifying Transfer/Loan/Free Contract listed players and an absolute necessity if you're going to be successful.
The key piece of advice is this - keep building and checking your network - the more scouts you hire, the more players you'll find, the better scouts you hire, the more accurate reports you'll get. If you can't find a player within your parameters, keep doing a regular search! As the game progresses, players who were previously out of your search guidelines will slip into them.
That's all from me for now, feel free to leave a comment and, until next time, enjoy playing FM 2016!