It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons so far for Birmingham City.
Wednesday night’s agonising late defeat away at Cardiff City means the Blues have now won just two of their last ten league games, meaning it currently looks like being another frustrating season of nervously looking over the shoulder for the Midlands side.
Now, the next challenge for the club to negotiate is swiftly moving onto the horizon, in the form of the January transfer window.
Not only will Birmingham be tasked with recruiting to improve their squad, they will also face the challenge of retaining some of their most important and best performers, when we reach the turn of the year, and one of those who feels like they should be a particular priority for the club with regards to the latter, is Maikel Kieftenbeld.
Injuries have made life difficult for the Dutch midfielder over the course of the past season and a half, with the 30-year-old finding himself in and out of the side over the past 12 months.
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However, recent weeks have seen Kieftenbeld make his return to the starting lineup with a string of impressive performances, and while that has been something of a boost for Aitor Karanka’s side, it could soon pose them something of an issue, when the market reopens at the turn of the window.
As things stand, Kieftenbeld’s contract at St Andrew’s is set to expire at the end of this season, and you could understand it if that were to see the Dutchman start to attract some attention in the new few weeks.
With the way he is playing at the minute, a player with Kieftenbeld’s experience, who could be relatively cheap due to his contract situation, would surely be an attractive prospect to a number of clubs, and would pose a problem to Birmingham.
Indeed, the rules over pre-contract agreement mean that the midfielder could even agree to join a club from abroad for free in the summer, and after several years in the Midlands, you wonder if that could be a tempting prospect for Kieftenbeld, should the right offer come in.
Consequentially, you feel that Birmingham must do what they can to secure the services of the midfielder for the foreseeable future with a new contract at St Andrew’s.
That way, Birmingham would at least know that they are either going to have a solid, reliable player who they can continue to call upon, or be confident that if he is to leave, it will be for a decent fee that can then be reinvested in the club.
It seems therefore, as though the Blues ought to move quickly to secure the services of Kieftenbeld beyond the end of this season, a deal which would likely not only provide a welcome morale boost for the club’s fanbase, but also prevent an already difficult season, from becoming even more challenging.