Kjell Knops

Should Vale stand by Kjell Knops next season?

Should Vale stand by Kjell Knops next season?

A guest blogger for this website argues that despite his injury problems, Kjell Knops adds experience to the backline and could still be worth a new contact at the club.

A Vale fan writes…

The Dutchman’s experience could be invaluable to a largely inexperienced backline, both on the pitch and the dressing room…

The January transfer window is a time for fans up and down the country to salivate at the prospect of new faces joining their respective clubs. For many Vale fans, though, one of the main concerns is whether an existing face will ever return to the starting line up. Popular defender Kjell Knops remains on the comeback trail and is due to be back in action in 2018-19. The real question, however, is whether it’ll be for the Valiants?

Earlier in the week, we posted an update from the man himself and the popular defender seems determined to step out on the Vale Park turf once more. Unfortunately, with his current contract set to expire in the summer, the management team at Vale Park have a major decision to make regarding the defender’s future.

Under normal circumstances, it would be a relatively easy decision. Knops was a valuable member of the squad in 2016-17, starting 28 times before his season was cut short by that horror injury at Rochdale. With most injuries, there would be no doubts about the likeable defender’s hopes of returning to fitness and form. Unfortunately, the Dutchman’s problems are among the worst in recent seasons at ST6.

The ACL injury alone is enough to have the alarm bells ringing, but the complications that surfaced following the infection make things infinitely difficult. Given that the 6ft 1in star will turn 31 before returning to action, it could be argued that time is running out. Meanwhile, it could be very difficult for Neil Aspin to offer a renewed deal to a player that he is yet to see in action.

On a brighter note, the defender hasn’t been blighted with injuries in the past. This is the first time in eight years that Knops will make fewer than 25 league appearances, and that bill of good health may work in his favour as he works his way back from the freak infection. Meanwhile, Dutch site
believe that his determined personality on and off the field, highlighted by the way he resurrected his career at MVV, is something for Vale fans to place hope on.

Knops’ desire to play for the club again should not be ignored. Moreover, while this season’s objective is simply to remain in the EFL, the club will be desperate to enjoy a better time of things in 2018-19. The Dutchman’s experience could be invaluable to a largely inexperienced backline, both on the pitch and the dressing room. Even for the remainder of this campaign, his presence around the club has a big role to play.

There’s no denying that club and player will enter the unknown once he returns to action. Further setbacks could occur while he may struggle to ever replicate his best form in a Vale shirt. It’s likely that patience will be needed in those early weeks as he looks to play himself back into form after well over a year out of the game. Still, if he can get back to his best, the Dutchman will improve the squad with undoubted quality. When you look at the division’s current dealings at transfermarket.com, that type of proven quality isn’t easy to find.

A lot could change between now and the summer. In truth, those developments are likely to have a huge influence on what decisions are made by both club and player. As things stand, though, it’s could be argued that it’s probably worth rolling the dice one last time – albeit only on a 12 month deal.

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