What next for Kenyan winger after his Koln side endure humiliating relegation from the Bundesliga?

Maina was relegated from the Bundesliga with Koln last weekend || Imago

What next for Kenyan winger after his Koln side endure humiliating relegation from the Bundesliga?

Mark Kinyanjui 12:45 - 20.05.2024

Maina was relegated from the Bundesliga for the second time in his career

Harambee Stars prospect Linton Maina has had a season to forget as his FC Koln side were relegated from the Bundesliga, making it the second time in his career he has been relegated from that league.

The first time he was relegated was while playing for Hannover 96 in the 2018/19 season, but back then, he was a teenage prospect. He also scored one goal and registered three assists that season, although that campaign was blighted by a meniscus problem that restricted him to just 20 appearances that season.

His record in the 2.Bundesliga was quite good. In the 19/20 season, he scored two goals and registered seven assists. In the second, he only scored two and assisted another two, but in the third, scored six goals and registered one assist, a run of form that was enough to see FC Koln sign him on a free transfer.

Two seasons into the club, he has a lot to reflect about. His second campaign is not one  he will want to look back on so fondly, given he started it with an injury that ruled him out from taking part in the first two games of the league season. He has still enjoyed significant minutes this season, having clocked 1906 minutes.

However, his productivity in terms of attacking numbers took a nosedive this season. While he  registered three goals and produced seven assists in his first season at the club, his second season has been less fruitful. He has only scored one goal and provided three assists, which is underwhelming for an attacking player who was signed for his effectiveness from Hannover.

According to Transfermarkt, Maina has been in the starting line up 67 percent of the time he has been available for selection. He has also been involved in goal contributions 14 percent of the time with his four goals and assists.

This implies that he has been part of a team that have generally struggled to be front-footed, and midway through the season, had to part ways with Steffen Baumgart following a series of unconvincing results.

In March, Koln’s woes were compounded even further following news that they were put under a two-window transfer embargo by FIFA, having been found guilty of inducing a breach of contract without just cause while signing Jaka Čuber Potočnik from Olimpija Ljubljana in January 2022.

They have appealed the decision, and the final outcome is yet to be determined, but should it be withheld, it means the Billy Goats will have to try and seek promotion without making transfers, but players can leave the club, which will leave them vulnerable.

While it remains to be seen which clubs could take a gamble on signing him following relegation, it might not be a surprise to see him remain there so he can use his experience to try and lead Koln to promotion again.

Valued at 5 million pounds (705 million shillings), he has a running contract till June 2025, he only has over a year left. For a player who has 20 goal involvements in 86 career Bundesliga games, it should not be surprising if a team tried to sign him so it can boost his reputation and creativity and give him a chance to continue playing high level football.

In terms of his international prospects, Maina, who is born to a German mother and Kenyan father, represented the former nation at age group level, but never played for the senior side. He remains eligible to play for Harambee Stars.

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