It has now become the norm to either get rid of older players by transfer or by not offering them a new contract.
In most cases you can see the logic, especially at a larger club. Why would you want to continue paying someone wages that could be in excess of £100,000-a-week when you know that they are going to stop playing sooner rather than later? It doesn't make great business sense. In around 80% of cases I would say yes, good idea, let them go. However there are instances where this is the wrong attitude completely.
Take “the architect” Andrea Pirlo - he has been one of the best midfielders in the world for the best part of 14 years. After moving form Internazionale he forced his way into the AC Milan first squad, season after season he won personal accolades as well as helping his team to league and European success, he continued his great performances into the national squad also winning the World Cup in 2006.
Even with his extraordinary talents and performances Milan allowed his contract to run down and in 2011 he moved to Juventus on a free transfer. Considering his age you might think that it was fairly smart considering he only made 25 appearances for Milan in his last season - but we all know how wrong AC were to let him go. He has bossed Serie A game after game, controlling the tempo and playing those pin point passes that make him so devastating, without him it could be claimed that Juve wouldn't have run away with the title in the manner they did. Even now, at the tender age of 33, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Closer to home we have Frank Lampard, one of the best midfielders this country has ever produced, and at the age of 34 it seems Chelsea are willing to cut their ties with the England international. Again considering his age and wages you might think that it would be a reasonable idea to let him go, yet this could be the biggest mistake Chelsea have made since letting Jose Mourinho go.
Lampard has again shown his ability this season in every capacity, scoring, defending and most importantly giving the team a lead figure in the absence of John Terry. His form this season has been nothing short of magical and yet a contract is no where to be seen - it's shocking really considering what he brings to the club but it appears that they are trying to bring the wage bill down by bringing in younger talents on less money.
Chelsea have been linked with players like Isco and Fellaini - this shows a clear replacement programme, out with the old and in with the new, but the Blues need to remember something very important - every team needs experienced players.
Experience is a quality that should never be underestimated. It's all well and good having a team of young stars, but without the experienced heads used to dealing with big pressure situations you’re not going to win much. Older players know how to deal with the big game nerves, already have been in the high pressure situations. I think the greatest example of experienced teams winning the big games can be found in Serie 'A'.
Inter and Milan have had some of the oldest players to grace the Champions League and yet they still have gone on to win it, players like Clarence Seedorf, Javier Zanetti, Paulo Maldini amongst others might not have been spring chickens but they knew how to play in the biggest of games.
Again there is not merely one singular reason to keep older players, if they are playing well that's great, but what they can pass on to younger players from their own experience can be priceless.
When Ryan Giggs finally decides to retire he will be one of the most important members of the coaching staff, and along with Paul Scholes, Manchester United have two of the best players of the last 20 years. They’ve won everything possible in club football and with United signing young players with great potential like Nick Powell and Wilfried Zaha amongst others, the advice and coaching could be priceless.
It creates a cycle - these experienced pros can pass their knowledge on to the next generation - helping the youngsters to fulfil their potential and become the club's next batch of superstars.
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