Big Bad Nigel
Vital Manchester City received the following from member bluerichy.
Claude Makalele signed for Chelsea in the summer of 2003 for £16.8m and was an instant success in the team. He was a defensive midfield stalwart whose qualities allowed the likes of Lampard, Duff, Robben and Drogba to play all out attacking football.
His record speaks for itself at Chelsea where he won league titles, the League Cup, the Charity Shield, was elected in the World Player XI and was instrumental in Chelsea's run to the Champions League Final in 2008. Add to this numerous trophies including Championship medals in Spain and France and you can see why a player like Makalele can be so important in building a Championship winning side with many 'flair' attack minded players.
The qualities Makalele possessed are I believe inherent in one of City's current squad. That player is Nigel De Jong.
Nigel De Jong At Home
A product of the great Ajax Youth Academy he made his debut for Ajax aged 17 and subsequently transferred to Hamburg in 2006. In January 2009 he transferred to our beloved Manchester City for an estimated £18m (a reasonable amount considering Chelsea paid a similar amount for Makalele 8 years earlier).
De Jong is a tireless midfielder who leads by example. He possesses a good footballing brain and great positional sense, coupled with strength and an animalistic quality to his tackling. He, like Makalele, has an uncanny knack of breaking up the oppositions play. From the centre circle to the 18 yard line he patrols the pitch dishing out his own brand of ferocious tackling, almost always coming away with the ball and finding a blue shirt.
Now don't get me wrong, De Jong is not the finished article yet, but he has played in a World Cup Final, is successful and very settled off the field. He can dish out but never complains when he is on the end of a hard tackle. He gives 100% every game and you can see by his absence from the team that we are not as good without him. Not only does he allow us to play with Silva, Tevez, Dzecko, Balotelli and Johnson, but he relieves pressure on the back four and allows both full backs to raid forward when needed.
In short I believe that De Jong will be an instrumental and vital cog in City's drive towards Premier League supremacy and Champions League success. He will only improve and one day, I think, will be looked upon as the Makalele of this decade and let's hope he brings us half the silverware Makalele won!