The Rossoneri great believes the key to long-term success is based upon spending money on nurturing young talent rather than large sums on big-name stars.
The Rossoneri have been cut adrift from the leading pack in Serie A and only returned to the top half of the league table last weekend following their win over Catania.
A summer of grand investment is expected under new coach Clarence Seedorf, but Milan great Maldini — himself the most famous product of the club's youth system — believes youth is the key to long-term success at San Siro.
He said: "To give a true philosophy to youth you need a plan at least every five years. It takes patience. You cannot only invest in the first team. You have to have equal investment in the first team and youth team to have long term success.
"Different ideas have come in from abroad in terms of spending lots of money which has created a difference in quality, Milan have been left behind a bit."