Three unattached midfielders Derby could sign after Kieftenbeld deal collapses

Gary Rowett manager of Derby looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Wolverhampton at iPro Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Derby, England.

The Birmingham City midfielder's move to Derby County has not been ratified.

Maikel Kieftenbeld of Birmingham City looks dejected after the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Birmingham City and AFC Bournemouth at St Andrews (stadium) on August 22, 2017 in...Maikel Kieftenbeld of Birmingham City

Derby County's proposed move for Maikel Kieftenbeld has failed to receive Football League ratification, forcing the midfielder to return to Birmingham City.

The news comes after Derby allowed two players - Craig Bryson and Jacob Butterfield - to leave in Kieftenbeld's position.

And Gary Rowett's side are looking worryingly thin on the ground in that department, with only Bradley Johnson, Tom Huddlestone and Jamie Hanson as available options.

With the loan window abolished last season, the Rams have little choice but to explore the free agent market if they wish to sign a replacement for the Dutchman.

So who's out there? Here are three of the most suitable candidates:

Joe Ledley

Joe Ledley of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2017 in London, England.

Released by Crystal Palace at the end of last season, Ledley is already said to have turned down a couple of Championship clubs, and it would be some surprise if he isn't snapped up soon. Still only 30, the former Celtic player continues to be picked for Wales despite being unemployed.

Youssouf Mulumbu

Youssouf Mulumbu of Norwich is tackled by Sam Morsy of Wigan during the Sky Bet Championship match between Wigan Athletic and Norwich City at DW Stadium on February 7, 2017 in Wigan,...

One of several high profile players let go by Norwich City earlier this year, Mulumbu was ironically linked with a move to Birmingham this week. That may be unlikely with Kieftenbeld returning, however, and Derby could profit. The former Paris Saint-Germain player boasts significant Premier League experience with West Bromwich Albion and Norwich.

Jay Spearing

Jay Spearing of Bolton Wanderers looks on after the Sky Bet League One match between Swindon Town and Bolton Wanderers at County Ground on October 8, 2016 in Swindon, England.

The former Liverpool man helped Bolton Wanderers to promotion last season, but was unable to agree a new contract with the Trotters. According to reports this week, the pair could be set to resolve their issues, although a move to Derby may appeal to Spearing.

Anyone else? Mathieu Flamini, Jan Kirchhoff, Didier Digard, Lewis McGugan, Josh Wright

Which of the above would you like Derby to sign?

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