Dutch star snubs Sunderland offer to sign for South Shields
The highly-rated player has signed a new contract with the Mariners, despite ongoing interest from the Black Cats.
The League One club had taken Verstraaten on trial in February, and made him an offer to join their Under-23 set-up after he featured in a game against Liverpool.
However, the Dutchman has instead opted to stay with Shields while continuing his university studies.
Verstraaten said: “I am very happy to have signed this deal, as it took a while before we finally got it done.
“I am very pleased that South Shields have shown their confidence in me during these unprecedented times.
“Ever since I joined the team in January, I have felt the professionalism and will to win this league.
“That this didn’t happen last season was obviously a very disappointing moment for the whole club, but I feel that we are very motivated to make things right next season. That is one of the many reasons I have signed with South Shields.
“I feel that it is the right place for me to grow as a player and improve in areas that will help me perform to a higher level.
“It is a pleasure to play in front of such a big crowd every week. There are not many places where the stage is set every weekend like it is at South Shields.
“I’m currently back in the Netherlands staying fit and spending some time with my family and I’m in regular contact with the management, but we just have to wait to see when the Government allows us to get back together.”
The 23-year-old, who came through the ranks of Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven, can play anywhere across the back line and in midfield.
He has also played for FC Eindhoven, Pacific Tigers and Portland Timbers' Under-23s, before joining Northern League side Consett last year after moving to England to study for a Masters in finance at Durham University.
His performances caught the eye of Shields, who snapped him up in January. He made 14 appearances before the season was ended by the Covid-19 pandemic.