They say that football is a sport that is primarily bult on emotion. That those moments of pure bedlam are what set it apart from more controlled sports. However, at the very top of the football pyramid, sentimentality rarely plays a part. Players are often moved on when they can no longer contribute exactly as the club wants. The same goes for players; they tend to look for a move as soon as their star reaches a higher point. Therefore, the news that Leeds United might look to ship off some of their veteran stars of the past should be no surprise.
The two names primarily linked with an exit include Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez. In the form of the latter, there has been speculation of an exit for some time. Though a key performer at Premier League and La Liga level in the past, Hernandez has simply reached an age where his contributions can no longer match his position on the pecking order. A new wide player is expected to arrive, with their key need being to provide the production of Hernandez.
However, there is also considerable talk that the club will look to move on from Hernandez to help clear up wages and space in the squad. With the Spaniard no longer able to consistently contribute, and unlikely to get any better as he ages, there is a need to make a cold, calculated decision. Despite playing a huge role in getting Leeds back to the top tier, can the Spaniard really continue to contribute?
In the case of Berardi, though, it has been injury which has mostly ruined his chance to make a big impact. The 32-year-old is the longest-serving player on the Lees books, and is well-loved by fans.
Why will Leeds sell two veteran fan favourites?
While sentimentality is at the heart of what makes fandom so fun, boardrooms and coaching staff cannot take such a view. While fans would be happy to reward both players with lifelong deals for playing such a big role in promotion, ownership see things differently. Berardi and Hernandez are both well-paid veterans who, through age and injury, are simply unable to keep pace with the way Leeds now play.
Berardi also looks a bit weaker and slower than he did at his peak. A long-term injury has probably robbed Berardi of his chance to play a key role in a Premier League standard team. With his age only going up and his contract only going down, then, it is likely that Leeds will need to move on from both players this summer.
For fans, it will be a shame to see two protagonists of the Marcelo Bielsa era move on. For the level of performance needed to keep Leeds going, though, it is sadly unlikely that the two players can reach the standard needed on a dependable basis. As hard as it will be for fans, an exit is on the cards for the right reasons.