Diego Costa and the Power of Talent

After the international break, the leagues in Europe resumed last weekend and as a Manchester United fan, I was looking forward to the new outlook of the Red Devils. The thoughts of having world class stars in the league of Radamel Falcao, Ángel Di María, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin V.Persie all in one lineup many months ago would have been a reverie I wouldn’t want to get out of but that’s what every United fan will be looking forward to now, week in, week out— talking about the Gaal-acticos!

Ángel Di María’s virtuoso performance which had him steal the headlines against Queens Park Rangers made my day and to really score the point that Madrid’s loss is United’s gain, Los Blancos slipped again this weekend, losing to champions Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Di María was not the only lad who deserved praise; all the debutants were fantastic: Daley Blind, who looked like the answer to the balance the Red Devils have been lacking in the middle of the park, and Marcos Rojo who brought some mojo to the hitherto unimpressive defence line with his ball retention and calmness. Radamel Falcao couldn’t turn in the half chance he got when he came in for 23 minutes in the second half, but he still imputed some sharpness and creativity that had been lacking in the final third.

Earlier on Saturday, Arsenal and champions, Manchester City, put up a good show for premier league football with a 2-2 scoreline in a pulsating game. Danny Welbeck was only able to hit the wood work on his debut after a delicate chip to evade the waiting arms of his England teammate, Joe Hart. Sergio Aguero, Jack Wilshere, Alexis Sánchez and Martín Demichelis were all on the score sheet. Sánchez’s goal for me stood out in that game.

But then the team that has kept tongues wagging so far are the little horse turned formidable stallion—the Blues. Chelsea have maintained their 100% record start to the season, scoring 15 goals with pizazz. Of course, remarkable among the performers of Jose Mourinho’s men is the prolific import from Atletico Madrid, Diego da Silva Costa.

Ever since his £32m move, he has fitted perfectly into the attacking deficit left by the resigned and injury sidelined legend, Didier Drogba. If the early signs he showed in the preseason was not convincing for some skeptics, his notching up of 7 league goals in just four games will solidify the argument that he’s probably the best bargain of the summer. Even his boss, the Special One considers it abnormal for him to be finding the net at that rate. However, Diego Costa’s ruthless finish is not the only thing that has made Chelsea tick so far. The team is fortified with quality in every department. Again, there is another guy who has been on top of his trade and that is Cesc Fàbregas. The Spaniard who admitted that it was inconceivable for him to play for Chelsea 5 years ago, have become the bulwark in the heart of the midfield, delivering impeccable passes to strikers like Diego Costa with the precaution of a courier service provider. Fabrepass like fans like to call him, has 6 assists so far and he’s poised to adding the English Premier League medal into his collection of medals.

Now you may want to call my bluff and say that the league is only 4 games gone out of 38—it’s true and anything can still happen in the intriguing English Premier league where clubs can be given rude awakening by lesser sides any day—there will be rooms for surprises and no one can really say how it will pan out, even with the clues these early days have given us. But  the one thing that stood out for me over the weekend, whether it was Diego Costa’s hat-trick, Alexis Sánchez’s wonder goal, or Di María’s verve down the flank, is that, top talents matter, let’s not kid ourselves.

Top talents will more often than not get the job done. The way Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas fit into the Chelsea’s squad, even though the latter has had English league experience, could only be possible because they have a good know-how (are talented and hardworking) more than the average players. Same thing could be said for Angel Di María ,Daley Blind, Alexis Sanchez, amongst other quality recruits.

This can also be taken to a broader sense; just like football clubs go for top talents to continue to remain relevant— win trophies and compete at the highest levels, top companies who want to remain industry leaders and enlarge their territories take the issue of talents seriously more than their counterparts. In Talent Masters, a book written by Bill Conaty, former senior Vice-President of General Electric and Ram Charan, co-author of the bestseller, Execution, they talked about the rigorous steps big multinationals like General Electric, Procter and Gamble, Unilever, amongst others, take to ensure they have the best talents and even keep and develop them. While these companies have ways of spotting leadership qualities in their staffers and nurturing them until they become ripe to assume leadership roles in the company, they are also quick to spotting promising talents in their industry and wooing them to come into their companies, after which they will induct them with their own culture (company’s vision and way of doing things). They know that without replenishing these talents, they will relinquish their advantage to the competition, and so they work very hard at ensuring they keep and nurture the best in their organizations while bringing in new ones where necessary, just like what football clubs do.

Talents don’t come cheap. They are usually paid for—ask Manchester United! It would cost you or your organization something to get the right talents, for example. Now the cost for you, could be the amount you would pay to get the talent—highly skilled employee, a virtual assistant, a fine programmer in Mumbai, or anybody that has relevant skills that can improve your cause. Another cost could also be the consequences of not getting the right talents—trophy-less seasons, relegation, poor results, incompetency, shoddy work, loss of clientele and every wrong thing you could think of.

Whether it’s your brick and mortar shop, or you run an organization, whatever you do, getting the right people—competent and highly skilled, will enhance your prospects and help you achieve your goals.

And just like football clubs, you will have to pay the price, one way or the other.

O.P. Philips is a freelance writer/entrepreneur. He is the author of The “OBAMA” in You! His new book, “What Football Teaches About Life” will be released soon.

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