Championship newcomers Sheffield United have completed the signing of Fulham centre back Richard Stearman this afternoon on a three-year deal. The fee, officially undisclosed, is believed to be more than £1m.

The 29 year-old’s transfer ends a difficult couple of years at Craven Cottage where the former Leicester City and Wolves defender never quite fulfilled brief of a dominant and physical centre back who was tasked with shoring up a rickety Fulham defence. Stearman arrived on transfer deadline in August 2015 and, despite making 30 league appearances in his first season with the club, failed to stem the alarming flow of goals conceded as the Whites drifted towards the drop zone.

The likeable centre back returned to Wolves, where he had played more than 200 times, on loan last season, scoring in their famous FA Cup giantkilling of Liverpool at Anfield, but was not able to secure a permanent deal with his old club and, having been kept out of the Fulham side by the likes of Tomas Kalas, Tim Ream and Michael Madl, was unlikely to force his way back into Slavisa Jokanovic’s thinking as the Serbian head coach was looking at further defensive reinforcements.

The former England youth international becomes the Blades’ fifth pre-season signing and is the latest big money earner to be moved on at Fulham as the Londoners look to reshape their squad for the second summer in succession.