14 Sep 2016

Klopp raves: 'Unstoppable' £50m goal-machine who almost signed for 'Liverpool' is 'world-class'. Agree?

During the 2013-14 season, Liverpool were heavily linked with a move for Diego Costa, but the deal inevitably fell through, and Chelsea swooped in. If Jurgen Klopp was in charge in 2013, Liverpool might've had a better chance of signing Costa, and based on his latest comments, it's clear that LFC's manager is a big admirer of the Brazilian.

When asked today about Costa, Klopp told reporters at his pre-match press conference:

"He [Costa] is world-class. He’s a real warrior on the pitch. He was nearly unstoppable against Swansea".

After rejecting a move to Liverpool in 2013, Costa Mundo Deportivo:

"I had options to leave. Liverpool is a great team, but after overcoming so many difficulties to win my place at Atletico, how could I go?"

A heartwarming response, but it doesn't appear to be true. ‘Diego Costa: The Art of War’ - a recent biography of the striker - offers a different version of events:

“Jose Mourinho identified Costa as a primary target...and a strategy was needed to ensure he was delayed, and not diverted. Chelsea and Mourinho made their case to Costa: turn down Liverpool now and we will sign you – for more money – in 12 months.”

Mourinho strikes again! As for the contention that Costa is 'world-class' - I refute that. When assessing 'World Class' ability, the only fair way to judge is to apply - where possible - objective criteria.

The subjective formula is basically: 'I see, therefore he is World Class', but that arguably has no meaning unless the label can be persuasively justified with objective facts. As such, in my view, before a player can be deemed 'world-class', he/she must:

* Have a Specific, Measurable Impact (SMI) - at all three levels of football, i.e. Domestic, European (Champions League/Europa League, or worldwide equivalent), and World (International - qualifying and/or tournaments).

* Push his/her team to match or exceed its Optimum Achievement Level (OAL). In other words, considering the overall quality of players available, relative strength of other teams, and historical level of achievement, what is the absolute best the team can realistically expect to achieve, and to what extent did the player in question help the team to match or exceed its OAL?

In Costa's case, he has done the business at domestic and European level, but he cannot be deemed 'world-class' until he's had a specific, measurable impact on the international stage, and thus far, he has underwhelmed at that level.

* Chelsea reportedly rejected a £50m summer bid for Costa.



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