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Should I renew his contract?

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So I've been gradually phasing out the ageing Darren Bent (31) from my Aston Villa squad, in place of Yaya Sanogo and a promising 17 year old Newgen (With good all round stats with potential to be world class). His contract was also due to expire at the end of the year and I wasn't going to renew it.

He hadn't had a start in a number of games, so I thought i'd put him in for the odd game. I like to rotate my squad as I have very good depth after investing in young players. I don't like players complaining either, as it's bad for squad morale. So I gave him a go and he scored 4 goals... I thought it was just a one-off.

After resting Bent for the league cup tie against West Ham, I brought him back in to play Man Utd away from home (I figured he can handle the pressure of a game we're almost certain to lose) but he goes and scores a hat trick and single handedly wins the game. So he swayed me and I gave him another start and well, you can see the rest:

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The match against Roma was a must-win game to get through to the knockout stages (As I was 3rd, 3 points behind Roma, and 6 behind Madrid).

I haven't seen anything like it. He's just scored more in 5 games than he did the entire 2014/2015 season.

Do you think I should offer him a new contract? :D

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I would give him a new contract then try and shift him on in the next window if you do still want rid of him. At least then you'll get some money for him :)

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I would give him a new contract then try and shift him on in the next window if you do still want rid of him. At least then you'll get some money for him :)

The problem with that is his wage will offset most of the value of a transfer. I've realised that myself, I used to renew every contract and then sell the players I don't want. Now the default position for me is to let all the contracts run out unless they're key players. I make my decision whether to renew based on my future plans (i.e. I don't want to get tied down with a contract when I don't need the player).

Since I posted last, Bent has played 3 games and scored another 6 goals (2 in one match, 4 in another. The remaining game being a 0-0 draw). I think i'm going to offer him a one-year extension, but I still want to hear advice. What is the best way to deal with a player who is heading towards the end of his career?

Previously i've just let their contracts run out (Players like Stiliyan Petrov), and the players tend to dislike me as a result. But if i'd renewed they would be rotting in my reserves.

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renew it year by year, adding a clause for renewal after a certain number of league games - i.e. if you play him like he is indispensible you get another year out of him automatically

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Age shouldnt be a factor here. If he is banging goals in like that then get him signed for another season or two.

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I really dont understand why people consider 31 too old for a player.. Many players are at their very best when they're 30-34

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I really dont understand why people consider 31 too old for a player.. Many players are at their very best when they're 30-34

In this years game, I find time and time again that as soon as players hit 31/32, they're knackered. I find it frustrating because it's not true to life.

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In this years game, I find time and time again that as soon as players hit 31/32, they're knackered. I find it frustrating because it's not true to life.

Work on their fitness levels then.

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Natural Fitness is a big thing for retaining ability in later years. In my save there are 2 full backs who despite their now advancing years I'd happily have in my side. Bacary Sagna and Dani Alves. Sagna at 35 looks like his attributes haven't dropped at all and Alves will still motor up the right flank at any given chance. So if your players have high natural fitness and (a good personality will also help) then the attributes won't decline so much. Not sure what Bent's attributes for Stamina and Natural Fitness are but he should still do a job for you. I'd keep him on and use the minimum league games clause to see if he will get another year or not

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Age shouldnt be a factor here. If he is banging goals in like that then get him signed for another season or two.

I think you're right. After another few games he's now the top scorer in the Premier League AND the top scorer in Europe. Letting him go would be kind of silly.

I really dont understand why people consider 31 too old for a player.. Many players are at their very best when they're 30-34

I by no means considered him 'too old', I just want to start bringing in my new talents into the squad, to build for the future.

In this years game, I find time and time again that as soon as players hit 31/32, they're knackered. I find it frustrating because it's not true to life.

I've had that for a number of players, which is what is making me wary.

Natural Fitness is a big thing for retaining ability in later years. In my save there are 2 full backs who despite their now advancing years I'd happily have in my side. Bacary Sagna and Dani Alves. Sagna at 35 looks like his attributes haven't dropped at all and Alves will still motor up the right flank at any given chance. So if your players have high natural fitness and (a good personality will also help) then the attributes won't decline so much. Not sure what Bent's attributes for Stamina and Natural Fitness are but he should still do a job for you. I'd keep him on and use the minimum league games clause to see if he will get another year or not

His natural fitness is 16 and his stamina is 14. I think the minimum league clause is a good idea too, I think i'll do that.

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I think the minimum league clause is a good idea too, I think i'll do that.

You can't do that any more, can you? After the latest patch this is no longer an option. Well, in my game it's no longer possible...

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If he's performing at the top then I'd definitely keep him. And I'd agree on the one-year contract as well because you have a few young but good strikers as backup. I'd probably try to loan out the 17 year old if he'd be guaranteed to get 1st team football at a club with good training facilities unless you plan on rotating him in and out of the squad or getting him tutored by one of your players.

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You can't do that any more, can you? After the latest patch this is no longer an option. Well, in my game it's no longer possible...

In the end I renewed it with a regular one year extension. I think it's better if i'm in control of his contract beyond that.

If he's performing at the top then I'd definitely keep him. And I'd agree on the one-year contract as well because you have a few young but good strikers as backup. I'd probably try to loan out the 17 year old if he'd be guaranteed to get 1st team football at a club with good training facilities unless you plan on rotating him in and out of the squad or getting him tutored by one of your players.

I have renewed his contract. He's just broken his own goal record for the club with 34 goals (And it's only January...). He has re-asserted his first team place in my squad.

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That is some niceeeeeeee games by Darren Bent :p. The thing about him though that he is about as pure a poacher as you can get and if you can put him to use correctly you'll get usefulness out of him even after he lose a lot of his speed. His high anticipation/off the ball and finishing means he can pop up a lot of time behind the play and score if you have a good enough players that can create space and chances for him... I never have him myself but he definitely look great to me if you get the tactic right

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Regardless of age how can you leave out a player doing the business like that! Wow!

All depends on your own scenario really.

If in your eyes....you the gaffer have lost faith in him and feel hes going to be no use to you then you have answered your own question. Like wise if you the gaffer feel you have a new signing to replace him for the long term then he is no longer required.

How ever if hes happy to, and does not demand too much get him tied down for one more year.

My latest save I took a very past his prime Herman Crespo on in my Seattle MLS save. Well past his best but I signed him more because I knew his CA was still as good (more often than not better) as anyone I had in my squad. I also knew his CA would drop VERY quickly through that 1 season but I hoped his experience would come in handy with the younger strikers I had in my squad.

He scored a modest 8 goals by half way point in season and his CA did drop (though not as much as I expected) and I planned on offering him a 1 year extension then sadly he suffered an injury and as we all players over 30yrs old if they suffer an injury even just for a few months there CA drops hugely and they cant really get it back. He managed to negotiate a deal to take him back to argentina where I suspect he will end his career on a nice note. I suffered an injury crisis and needed someone to come off the bench in my final game and who came off the bench to get me the goal that would win the MLS....Crespo.

The board and fans are upset I allowed him to leave. But at his age and his CA he would become surplus if I strengthed the team during the close season. 26 games 9 goals was better than I expect him to achieve at his age in his late 30's and the experience he provided for the kids was superb.

With Bent in your save weigh up the pro's and con's and make your choice from there. Although he may be a reserve or back up is his ability still there where if you have a major injury crisis he could answer the call? Can he provide an experienced head to your younger strikers to learn from? OR is he past it, not a good role model, hard to work with, demanding more money than his ability deserves?

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I love Darren Bent on this game, class player. He is such a good poacher I would sign him at any club I was at and would only release him after his legs fell off. Attributes wise he may not be the best but he guarantees goals. If you can get him and Cavani up front together you will score 100 goals a season easy.

As for your post about wanting to get rid of him as you want to build for the future.....be careful with this policy as i your always building for the future you will never be in the present. The most important season is the season you are in.

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Id keep him and judge year by year, all my players over 32 get 1 year deals no matter what. I dont think players get ruined at 31/32 in the game, but there is a quick decline after 32/33. I have a 32 year old Danny Wilson still as my captain, stats are as good as they have always been, however Jack Wilshire suffered a big drop at 30, but he has suffered huge amounts of injury problems in my game which wont have helped.

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Its only physical stats that drop int he early 30's, which is realistic to real life. If you want to keep a player playing past the point their physical stats deteriorate, then you need to give them a role that suits having low physical attributes. I have not had any original players over 34 on FM12, but in past saves I have kept Patrick Veira until he was 39, Alan Smith until he was 38 and a few others.

Just think of Ryan Giggs irl, in his teen and 20's years he was a flying winger, using his pace and trickery to beat opposition players and score and set up goals. Now he is in his late 30's does he do that any more? No. He mostly plays centre mid now, sitting in the midfield picking up the ball and spraying it around.

If you don't have any players in your tactic who sit and play, and your unwilling to change, then yes sell all your players at 30/31.

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I had Rooney playing until he was 39 in my previous save, same with Lampard. Signed both when they were 35/36 and took them to the SPL.

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I would do one year rolling contract offering at the last minute so his demands will fall.

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That is some niceeeeeeee games by Darren Bent :p. The thing about him though that he is about as pure a poacher as you can get and if you can put him to use correctly you'll get usefulness out of him even after he lose a lot of his speed. His high anticipation/off the ball and finishing means he can pop up a lot of time behind the play and score if you have a good enough players that can create space and chances for him... I never have him myself but he definitely look great to me if you get the tactic right

I use him as a poacher, and he seems to fit that roles very well. I wouldn't ever buy him if I was any other team though, you can get players as good for less money (As he starts the game with a £16million valuation or something along those lines).

Regardless of age how can you leave out a player doing the business like that! Wow!

All depends on your own scenario really.

If in your eyes....you the gaffer have lost faith in him and feel hes going to be no use to you then you have answered your own question. Like wise if you the gaffer feel you have a new signing to replace him for the long term then he is no longer required.

How ever if hes happy to, and does not demand too much get him tied down for one more year.

With Bent in your save weigh up the pro's and con's and make your choice from there. Although he may be a reserve or back up is his ability still there where if you have a major injury crisis he could answer the call? Can he provide an experienced head to your younger strikers to learn from? OR is he past it, not a good role model, hard to work with, demanding more money than his ability deserves?

He's proven that he's still good enough for first team, and his stats haven't noticeably dropped.

As for your post about wanting to get rid of him as you want to build for the future.....be careful with this policy as i your always building for the future you will never be in the present. The most important season is the season you are in.

For the past two years Bent underperformed, scoring around 22 goals in 2013/2014 and around 14 in he 2014/15 season. He was in decline; it was his poor form that made me phase him out of the squad.

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Usually I've shipped out Bent at the earliest opportunity. Not because he isn't a good player, but because his wages are high and you can get players that can perform to a similar level for cheaper.

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Usually I've shipped out Bent at the earliest opportunity. Not because he isn't a good player, but because his wages are high and you can get players that can perform to a similar level for cheaper.

His wages are too high at first, I agree. But compared to Heskey, Given and Agbonlahor (Who are not as good and on wages almost as high) they aren't that bad. Plus, every time i've renewed his contract i've managed to lower them. He's on £44,500 now :D Despite having other players on more than twice that.

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I'm not sure if it is natural fitness that keeps players going till later on. I think its more to do with professionalism and perhaps a low injury proness stat

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