That could open the door for Hearts, where Zeefuik had a profitable four-month loan last season, and Groningen’s managing director, Hans Nijland, has revealed that Zeefuik is having discussions with a “foreign club”.
Nijland confirmed on his own Twitter account that “Genero Zeefuik has permission to talk to a foreign club and that he has been allowed to miss Monday’s training.”
Manager Robbie Neilson was eager to keep the 25-year-old at Tynecastle after he netted 12 goals in 15 games to help Hearts back into the Scottish Premiership but Groningen’s demand of a £300,000 fee seemed to kill off any hope of a deal.
However, sources in Holland claim that Groningen have dropped that idea and simply want to get Zeefuik off the wage bill because the striker they from bought from PSV Eindhoven in 2012 signed a five-year contract.
Zeefuik became a cult hero with the Hearts support, especially after signing off with a late double in the final match of the season to earn a 2-2 draw with Rangers at Tynecastle.
Having taken a pay cut in order to join Hearts in the first place, he returned to Groningen intent on pleading to be allowed to rejoin the Gorgie club.
“Maybe I can come here to Hearts or go to another club. I don’t know,” Zeefuik said then. “I don’t think Groningen want me. I did a good job here so maybe it’s possible I can play here next season.”
Neilson admitted last April that Zeefuik – who also grabbed a hat-trick in just three minutes in the 10-0 rout of Cowdenbeath – had made a huge impact.
“Género is a player that we’d like to keep, but it has to come within our budget,” Neilson said at the time.
“That’s just being prudent. Género has had a great season but we’re only a year on from administration and the doors nearly being shut, so we still have to live within our means. The ball is in Género’s court and Groningen’s.”