5 Reasons Why Andrea Pirlo Deserves a New Deal at Juventus
Andrea Pirlo was thought to have been done in 2011. Milan were not convinced that the then 32-year-old deserved a lengthy extension to his expiring contract.
Juventus swooped in for the Azzurri maestro, signing the Rossoneri legend to a three-year deal that will expire at the end of the current season.
Pirlo has enjoyed success with the Old Lady, claiming two scudetti in as many years and starring as the main protagonist over that period under Antonio Conte.
The decision will need to be made in due course as to whether he deserves a new deal.
For my mind, there is no doubt that he merits an extension. Here is why.
Juventus may have experienced a wonderful period of success during the two years that Pirlo has been at the club, but greater goals remain unfulfilled.
Conte will be well aware that the true measure of great sides is how they fare in the Champions League.
After their first season back in Europe's premier competition, the Bianconeri reached the quarterfinal stage, eventually losing to a rampant Bayern Munich side.
With added signings to the squad, Juve will be expected to mount a challenge this season.
The side is capable of achieving this goal, but when the crunch matches arrive, the players have to transmit a feeling of calmness—a certain swagger, if you will.
Pirlo offers that in abundance when pressure reaches its pinnacle; he's been there plenty of times before.
Having claimed the Champions League on two separate occasions with Milan, he offers experience that will be invaluable for Juventus to call upon when it matters most.
Pirlo will be a valued member of the Juventus squad for a good while yet, even when his action on the pitch begins to be reduced.
Leadership is often overlooked in football. It can be an asset to a squad that possesses sufficient quality but requires somebody to make others believe that they have what it takes to fulfill their potential.
Pirlo will do just that by orchestrating proceedings at Juventus on the pitch.
Off the field, there is also a necessity to show the team how to behave and prepare for the biggest occasions.
Pirlo will be a shining example in this regard and will set the standard for others to follow.
Unofficial Player Coach
Pirlo has achieved everything on the pitch, and the sum of his qualities is something that every young player will aspire to emulate.
In the autumn of his career, he can transition to his post-playing career by offering a master class to young teammates—particularly Paul Pogba, who possesses an equal amount of natural talent. Pirlo will be able to provide a lasting impression on the Frenchman's career that can help him achieve greatness.
As a player without outstanding physical assets, Pirlo's game is worth studying by any young Juventini, and Conte would be a fool not to tap into this rare opportunity.
Lack of an Immediate Replacement
If they do not offer a new deal to Pirlo, Juve would need to have a replacement who can play in the midfield and stamp his authority on the side in the manner that Pirlo does.
To orchestrate a team filled with gifted players and see the play several steps ahead of the opponent is something that will be difficult to replace.
There are suggestions that Pogba could slot into that deeper role and impose himself on the side, but in a different manner. Strikingly physical and able to glide past opponents, he will be able to keep the side ticking in a different fashion, perhaps adding more variety.
Although his range of passing is impressive, it is not close to the way that Pirlo sweeps the ball across the pitch, which creates the question as to whether he will ever be replaced.
Without any evidence that Conte will experiment with a different type of player at the base of the midfield, one would imagine that the manager will require a player in a similar mould.
It is probable that the Bianconeri will look to find this player in the market. Once this player is identified and signed, he will need time to adjust to a new system.
With Pirlo able to smooth out that transition, Juve will be far better equipped to sustain their dominance.
Reward for Success Achieved in His Time so Far
It is always debatable as to why a club should award a new contract to a player.
On one hand, the contract could symbolise what that player is expected to contribute in the coming years. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge what the player has achieved already.
By identifying what Pirlo has done in his time as a Bianconero, the club can assess whether they believe that he is capable of replicating that form, at least to an extent.
By being a crucial part of a back-to-back championship-winning side, he has earned the right to be offered a new contract.
At 34 years old, he will have to defy the skeptics who argue that his game is deteriorating with age. The same doubters were proved to be wrong after Milan relinquished him in 2011.
A three-year contract was signed initially, so it is only fair to expect a shorter deal given his age.
He would surely accept a two-year deal, and even though Juve might have their doubts as to whether he can sustain his excellence until 2016, it is probable that the club will meet that demand for such a prestigious player.