Does Derby County's Josh Brownhill interest suggest Maikel Kieftenbeld is staying at Birmingham?

Gary Rowett manager of Derby County looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Reading at iPro Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Derby, England.

Gary Rowett may be about to accept defeat in his pursuit of Kieftenbeld with Bristol City's Brownhill and Bolton Wanderers' Josh Vela alternatives.

Maikel Kieftenbeld of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa at St Andrews (stadium) on October 29, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

With the signs suggesting that Gary Rowett may be left disappointed in his attempts to reunite with Maikel Kieftenbeld at Derby County, it may be no coincidence that The Rams have seemingly turned their attention towards other combative midfielders.

Derby had all but sealed the signing of Dutch enforcer Kieftenbeld from Birmingham City on transfer deadline day this summer, only for the EFL to decide that the paperwork had not been complete on time and declare the deal null and void.

And while HITC sources told us that Rowett was still keen to sign a midfielder he brought to Birmingham from Groningen in 2015, the 27-year-old has now insisted that he would be open to extending his contract at St Andrews, per the Birmingham Mail.

But no matter. It appears that Derby are covering their backs by eyeing up a couple of alternatives. The Mail stated earlier this week that the energetic Bolton Wanderers favourite Josh Vela is a target for The Rams, as well as Championship rivals Leeds United in the January transfer window.

Josh Vela of Bolton Wanderers during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers at Deepdale on November 17, 2017 in Preston, England.

Cash-strapped Bolton may need to sell arguably their prized asset in order to fund additions elsewhere in the squad.

And TEAMtalk are now reporting that Bristol City’s Josh Brownhill, who has come on leaps and bounds under Lee Johnson this season, is also a potential addition at Pride Park in the New Year.

Josh Brownhill of Bristol City takes on Michael Keane of Burnley  during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Burnley and Bristol City at Turf Moor on January 28, 2017 in Burnley,...

The 21-year-old, like Vela, would offer a tenacious presence in the centre of the park, perhaps providing a more natural foil to Joe Ledley than the languid Tom Huddlestone.

But as it stands, it appears that Vela or Brownhill could move to Derby at the expense of Kieftenbeld.

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