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1617 burnley steven defour 01 100x500Burnley have confirmed the signing of 28-year old Belgian international midfielder Steven Defour from RSA Anderlecht on a three year contract with an option for a fourth year. It’s an undisclosed fee, as you would expect, but it is widely reported to be €8.5 million which is a record signing for the Clarets, beating the close to £6 million we paid Brentford for Andre Gray.

The very thought of Defour being a Burnley player has sent many on the message board into raptures, believing him to be a key signing for a central midfield area that hasn’t had a penny spent on it in transfer fees since Brian Stock signed for us in August 2012.

Defour certainly has a good pedigree. He’s played his football for just four clubs, three of them in his home land. It started with K.R.C. Genk, the club from whom we signed Jelle Vossen just over a year ago.

Ten years ago he moved to Standard Liège and he became a big favourite with their supporters in five years at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne. He became the club’s captain at just 19 and that season received the Belgian Golden Shoe, an award voted for the best player in the league.

It was whilst there that there were rumours of interest from Manchester United. It seems to have come from a letter he received from Sir Alex Ferguson when he broke a foot and left strong suggestions that they were ready to try and bring him to Old Trafford before the injury.

He was a winner during the five years he was with Standard Liège. They twice won the Belgian Pro League and were also Belgian Cup winners on one occasion as well as twice winning the Belgian Super Cup, which is played on the same basis as our Community Shield, league champions versus cup winners.

There were more trophies when he left Belgium in 2011 at the end of his five year contract; he moved to Portugal to sign for Porto. He was there for three years in which they twice won the Premeira Liga and both times winning the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira which is the Portuguese Super Cup.

He’s also featured on the international stage. He’s played in the Champions League for two of his clubs and he’s also been very much a part of the Belgian national squad, although an injury ruled him out of the recent Euros. Having represented Belgium at all age groups from under-15 to under-18, he made his full international bow at the age of 18 on 6th September 2006 in a World Cup qualifier against Estonia that Belgium won 3-2. He’s since gone on to play 46 times for his country in what has proved to be one of the best ever Belgian teams.

For the last two years he’s been with Anderlecht although reports suggest he’s not been popular with the fans because of his previous connections with rivals Standard Liège. Reports have suggested that was one of the reasons he wanted a move.

A move to Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi looked likely even as recently as last Friday, but then came the news of a deal having been struck between his club and Burnley. Things moved quickly. He travelled to Manchester on Sunday for his medical and Burnley have now confirmed that he’s joined us.

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