It’s probably fair to say that there was something of an exodus at Blackburn Rovers over the course of the summer.
As well as the returns of five loan players to their parent clubs, Rovers also bid farewell to six other senior players at the end of last season, following the expiration of their contracts at Ewood Park.
One such player who found himself in that position, was midfielder Lewis Holtby.
Having joined Blackburn on a free transfer back September 2019, the German went on to make 56 appearances in all competitions for the Championship club, scoring four goals and providing five assists in that time.
But despite an impressive CV that boasts top-flight experience in both England and Germany, not to mention three senior international caps for Germany, it took Holtby longer than might have been expected to find a new club.
While his departure from Rovers was announced in the middle of May with the club’s released and retained list, it wasn’t until three months later that Holtby would find a new club.
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That eventually came when the midfielder secured a return to Germany, completing a move to Holstein Kiel in the country’s second-tier.
Since then, things have seemingly been moving at a slow, but encouraging, pace for Holtby. Perhaps not surprisingly given his time without a club this summer means he is likely to be lacking match fitness, Holtby has yet to start a game for his new side.
He has however, come off the bench in each of the two games Holstein have played since his arrival, with Holtby helping the club to a 2-2 draw and then a 3-0 win in those outings – with the midfielder providing an assist in the latter.
Those results secured Holtby’s new side their first points of the campaign, meaning that they currently sit 15th out of 18 in the early season standings, only outside the relegation spots on goal-difference.
It seems therefore, that Holstein will be hoping that upturn in form they have enjoyed since Holtby’s arrival continues. The midfielder himself meanwhile, will surely be targeting an important role in that, given the early signs do seem promising.