Reading through the CL thread, I came across these two posts that I found galling: Christ. I hate that we're so soft in midfield. If there's one thing I am a spoilt brat about in regard to this club, it's in us being ferocious in midfield. Losing, drawing, winning, whatever - being behemothic in the middle of the pitch is an expectation and demand, for me. The last time we went out for (and got) an actual hard-man in the middle of the pitch we ended up with... Djemba x2 Fail. We then moved for and were parried out of Essien. The last attempt was Hargreaves, who is a '?' for all intents and purposes on a lot of levels. Watching Essien in the CL game against Liverpool reminded me of a few things. If we do happen to meet Chelsea again this season and he is fit and playing in midfield we will have to make contigency plans to contain/withstand him, we always have to worry ourselves when coming up against a side with top quality DM or DCM. In the days where we had Manlaw here, we would just drop a Nuclear Keane on such a player and reap the benefit of the fallout and that would be that, no more thought required, no plans put in place and no concern at all about central midfeld. How times have changed as we dither and pansy about whenever we're met with true, quality resistance through the middle of the pitch. Fletcher, Carrick, Scholes, Anderson and even Hargreaves - they all try their best to stave off the opposing power+ quality mix, but in one or both measures, each one of them is found wanting: Fletcher has the heart and the focus, but is not of the quality of the top percentile in the position. Carrick has neither the spirit for battle or the physical tools to go head-to-head with a midfield warrior. Anderson has no stamina or positional discipline - he's the type who does a job on a Gerrard or Fabregas, not an Essien or Mascherano. Scholes is just not designed for that in any shape or form. And Hargreaves.. he does not have the ability on the ball or the composure in his play to be the go-to man in a direct head-to-head clash against the top percentile in those aformentioned roles. We have needed a genuine, world-class behemoth in the middle of the pitch for a long time, but have gotten by with cunning, smarts and complete avoidance of midfield wars in the meantime. Sure, it works - some of the time, but equally, in a lot of contests we just get straight ran through the middle and bullied out of our game. Every coach, manager or fan with any sense at all knows that the bits bolded from the quotes above are what are needed to beat us. I wrote the first post on 21st Dec 2008 (ffs) and we've been rolled over through the middle too many times to mention since then in big games. We've been going on about De Rossi on this board for nigh on 3yrs now, but who else is out there who can directly address this need? We need a striker of comparable class here as well, but the biggest expenditure, for me, would go straight into that central midfield warrior who can have us match any side for raw power and quality in the middle and not have us panic/struggle the moment it becomes a battle in the middle. I'd forgo a Benzema for a De Rossi, for example. Our team would be dramatically altered with a midfield-warrior. The defence would be less-stressed, the midfield would be unafraid and the attack would see more of the ball, our star men would be protected (enforced) and I believe the combination of players we could put out in the central area would be dramatically altered with such a player being comfortable next to any of our current midfielders as part of a two or three man midfield. We had a 1500+ post discussion about strikers (and we're still not done there) can we have something similar about potential all-in-one hero midfielders please? Recommendations, suggestions..etc, etc. Is Toulalan the best that's out there who's not already at a 'final destination' big club? That guy Tymoschuk really did look like he fit the bill. How galling is it to know we could've had Senna for £6m and passed him over...waiting for Hargreaves.. >_< Who is out there that you guys like the look of?