This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
On Monday, Birmingham confirmed the departure of midfielder Maikel Kiftenbeld to Championship rivals Millwall.
The Dutch midfielder spent six seasons at St Andrew’s and was a popular figure among the Blues’ fanbase, but his contract was up in the summer and no new deal at Birmingham materialised so he moved on.
It’s news that may have surprised many, given he was a regular fixture in Aitor Karanka’s Blues team.
So, what do you make of Birmingham City’s decision to offload Maikel Kieftenbeld to Millwall?
The team here at FLW have their say….
I was very surprised by this in all honesty.
Admittedly, with Kieftenbeld out of contract at the end of the season, it may have made sense for them to sell his now to ensure they received a fee for him, rather than lose him for nothing in the summer.
However, the Dutchman has been one of the brighter sparks in a poor season for them, so it does seem as though they have weakened themselves and strengthened a Championship rival with this move, which does seem rather strange considering their current predicament.
Indeed, it is also worth noting that Kieftenbeld is hugely popular with the Birmingham fanbase – as evidenced by their reaction to his departure – and given that is something they ought to have known about before this, you feel it might have been sensible to look to give him a new contract to give the club a lift at a difficult moment, rather than let him go in what looks to be another blow to morale, certainly for their supporters at least.
Did Birmingham City sign each of these 18 players for more or less than £1 million?
It was certainly a surprise to see this deal happen.
Maikel Kieftenbeld enjoyed more than five years with Birmingham City and was undoubtedly a popular figure among supporters.
While he didn’t start the season in Aitor Karanka’s plans he established himself as a first team player during the last couple of months so it was a surprise to see the Blues let him go.
Given that Gary Rowett was the man who brought him to St Andrews it seems that this may have been a deciding factor, but it’s still baffling that Birmingham let him leave for a divisional rival when there’s so much to play for this term.
It surprised me quite a lot to be honest.
Kieftenbeld has been a fantastic servant to Birmingham and has performed well under different managers, especially under Gary Rowett which is obviously a massive factor in his move to Millwall.
He’s only made 12 appearances this season, but he is a player who loves the club and possesses real experience.
After bidding farewell to David Davis of late, it seems as if Aitor Karanka doesn’t really care about sentiment, and wants to freshen things up in midfield, perhaps explaining the recent addition of Rekeem Harper.
Kieftenbeld is getting older, but for me, you need his type of experience and character to lift things when times are tough.