Despite the fact that the January transfer window is still more than three long months away, we are still getting bombarded with wild rumors of this or that player being on the verge of completing a move as soon as it reopens. The vast majority can be excluded as nothing more than agents generating interest in their players, which is why we tend to completely ignore them. There is one story however which has appeared more consistently than most, raising the possibility that there may be some substance to it. Sport.co.uk has carried a report this week that Manchester United are again being linked with Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed interest in the 22 year old for over 12 months, sending the Belgium international a letter of encouragement and commiserating with him over the leg break which ruled him out for much of last season. Ferguson gave Defour his word that he will keep in touch with the youngster’s progress and small gestures like that can make the difference when the time comes for a decision on which club should get his signature.
Defour has yet to completely recover from the injury but in an exclusive interview with his agent Paul Stefani, Sport.co.uk was told that “It is very early in Steven’s return from injury, and it is early to talk about a transfer, but January is a possibility for him. If a club agrees a fee with Standard and us, then it is possible he will leave” he said
With veteran Paul Scholes approaching retirement, the Belgian is seen as the type of player that could provide a similar creative ability to make things happen in Ferguson’s midfield “Yes I think he can play this position, it is natural for him” Stefani said “he was excellent at the weekend and his recovery from injury has been impressive. But it is not up to me to decide if he can play in that position.”
Stefani has no doubt about Defour’s ability to bounce back from his long layoff saying that “He’s recovered well and is playing really well at the moment so maybe something could happen. He is playing very well and is the leader of the side, everyone is very impressed with him at the moment. So you never know in football, a move could be possible” he concluded.
It must be remembered that those are the sort of words that can be expected from a player agent but Ferguson has been dealing with that sort of language for many years. Defour is reported to be available for around £13m and at his age appears to tick all the boxes. Sir Alex has been looking for some rare value in the transfer market, in Steven Defour he may have precisely what he wants.
Could Defour be the replacement for Scholes that Ferguson has been searching for?