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Man City’s Big Winter Signing Is a Former Hedge Fund Brain

The Premier League club is escalating the analytical arms race in Europe’s richest soccer competition. 

Manchester City is expected to close out the month-long transfer window for trading players on Feb. 1 without making any significant on-field additions.

Manchester City is expected to close out the month-long transfer window for trading players on Feb. 1 without making any significant on-field additions.

Photographer: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images 

English Premier League soccer club Manchester City are well-known for spending big in their pursuit of trophies. Yet this winter’s key signing is not a new striker or a commanding defender, it’s a hedge fund veteran with a doctorate in astrophysics.

Laurie Shaw’s résumé is straight from high-brow science and finance. He studied such things as dark matter halos and galaxy clusters at Cambridge and Yale universities before moving to data science at Harvard via London-based algorithmic investment firm Winton Capital Management and the U.K. Treasury. Then soccer came calling.