‘Summer’s Most Wanted’ – Steven Defour

Steven Defour is one of the most coveted youngsters in European football. The Standard Liege midfielder is wanted by a host of Premiership clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton. The 21 year old is one of the hottest commodities in Belgian football, winning the prestigious Golden Shoe award in 2007-08 and becoming a regular fixture in the Belgian national side, under former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat.

The midfielder broke a bone in his foot in October, scuppering a move to the Premiership in January. Sir Alex Ferguson even wrote to Defour when he heard of his injury, telling him he was sorry about his injury but would still continue to watch his progress.

So what is all the fuss about Steven Defour? Nicknamed the “Belgian Fabregas” by some pundits, Defour is an excellent passer and playmaker, who works hard and displays real leadership qualities, as he was named captain of Standard Liege aged 19. Defour needs to work on his shooting and add more goals to his game to become the complete midfielder, but the fact that all the top clubs want to sign the midfielder provides a testament to how good this midfielder is an can be.

Defour’s performances hit the headlines last season, when his Standard Liege side gave Liverpool a scare in Champions League qualifying, and then beat the likes of Everton, Sevilla and Sampdoria in the Europa League. Part of a Standard team that also features fellow midfield prodigy Axel Witsel, new Liverpool signing Milan Jovanovic and formerly, Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, this side have won the Belgian title for the last two seasons.

So where can we expect to see Defour playing next season? The Belgian is under contract until 2013, and has already made his comeback from injury, returning at the end of January. Everton had a £9 million bid rejected last summer, so you can expect he will cost big money if a Premiership club wants to prise him away from Standard Liege.

Man United are obvious favourites, seeing as Sir Alex sent that letter to Defour and the midfielder favours a move to Old Trafford. Arsenal could also swoop for the “Belgian Fabregas” in the summer, if the real Fabregas leaves for Barcelona. It is unlikely that Liverpool, with their current financial predicament, will want to spend the sort of money to sign Defour. Chelsea is another option, as they need some young legs in their midfield. Whatever happens, someone needs to snap this kid up before it gets too late and the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid come knocking.

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