Mark Duffy is reportedly shocked after being told he can leave Sheffield United this summer.
A Football Insider exclusive claims that Duffy heard the news after also finding out he would not be offered a new contract.
The 33-year-old has entered the final year of his current deal at Bramall Lane, but was hoping to commit his long-term future to the club.
However, clearly the Blades don’t see Duffy in their plans going forwards. This is despite the fact the attacking midfielder played a key role in their promotion from the Championship last season.
In fact since joining from Birmingham City as one of Chris Wilder’s first signings as manager back in 2016, Duffy has been an important member of the team.
Since arriving in South Yorkshire, the former Scunthorpe United and Morecambe player has made 121 appearances in all competitions.
Why are Sheffield United getting rid of Mark Duffy?
Duffy had clearly been hoping to finally get his chance in the top flight of English football. This is after working his way up from non-league and featuring extensively in every Football League division.
Yet that dream may be over and in truth, the signs have been emerging over the summer.
The Blades have signed five new players since coming back into the Premier League. Three of those could be considered direct competition for Duffy.
Luke Freeman, Callum Robinson and Ravel Morrison are all comfortable in the number ten position. This is the role Duffy has occupied – to great success – in Wilder’s 3-4-1-2 formation.
Even if the Blades boss is considering tweaking to a 3-4-3 system, that is still a lot of attacking midfielders to keep happy. Something has to give, and it was never going to be any of the new faces.
On a personal note, it seems a shame that a few months shy of his 34th birthday Duffy won’t be able to complete his climb through the divisions. As in all likeliness, if he does leave then a return to the Championship is the most realistic outcome.