Sheffield United man officially leaves Bramall Lane as contract confusion is cleared up

Michael Verrips' Sheffield United career is officially over, after the goalkeeper signed a three-year deal with Dutch club Fortuna Sittard – before being immediately loaned out to one of their Eredivisie rivals.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 12:25 pm

FC Groningen have signed the 25-year-old on loan from Fortuna, the club Verrips joined on a temporary basis from United last season. The loan switch contained a deal converting it to a permanent one this summer – but Sittard have loaned the Dutch stopper out to Groningen, who also have a purchase option in the deal at the end of next season.

Verrips only played three times for United last season - conceding four goals in one game away at West Brom - before moving to Sittard.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

Despite early optimism from both sides over the deal, Verrips featured only twice between the posts for Sittard - in 2-1 defeats to AZ Alkmaar and RKC Waalwijk - after contracting Covid-19 and losing his place to rival ‘keeper Yanick van Osch.

"We have evaluated last season and looked at the positions where we think we can become even stronger," Groningen's technical director Mark-Jan Fledderus said of Verrips' move.

"When Michael appeared on our radar as an option, we jumped in.

"We were given the opportunity to rent him for next season, with a purchase option. The ideal construction for us in this situation.

Michael Verrips during Sheffield United's heavy defeat at West Bromwich Albion: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

"We can see Michael at work up close for a season, alongside the development of our other goalkeepers.

"There will be an open competition for the position below the bar. The great thing for us as a club is that in this situation, we have full control over our goalkeepers within the first selection.

"We have all the tools in our hands to be able to make choices next season and the season after that. Michael is tall and has a good appearance.

"He's a real 'man', I think. We were and are also looking for this type of player. We have a lot of young, very talented players, but we sometimes lack body and experience.

"Michael is a personality and we can use that well within our current selection. We wish him every success at FC Groningen.”

While United are yet to publicly announce Verrips’ permanent departure, Sittard confirmed that the goalkeeper had signed a deal until 2025 this summer before moving again on loan.

The goalkeeper has previously expressed his frustration at not featuring more for United, who he joined in unusual circumstances back in 2019 after cancelling his contract with KV Mechelen following a match-fixing investigation into the club, and admitted that his bit-part role as understudy to Dean Henderson and then Aaron Ramsdale left him “completely down in the dumps”.

Despite the goalkeeper’s move to United initially being reported as a free transfer, Mechelen complained to FIFA about Verrips’ conduct and later accused their former player of “unilaterally breaking” his contract with them.

Belgian media later reported that United paid an undisclosed transfer fee to settle the dispute over Verrips, who made his only league appearance for the Blades in that 4-0 hammering at West Brom.