With great technique, strength, stamina and mental toughness the Porto midfielder is also only 24 and could be a great addition at Old Trafford.
Manchester United were stunned on the opening day of the season at Goodison Park as Everton stole the curtain raiser with a perfectly executed performance over The Red Devils. Rather than curtain raising it was more hell raising as Maraoune Fellaini tore the United side apart, picking on the weaknesses of Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Patrice Evra to force his own unique influence on the game eventually scoring a deserved winner much to the pleasure of the raucous Goodison hoards.
It was a performance not to dissimilar to the one he provided against Liverpool in a 2008 Champions League qualifier that shook The Reds after Maraoune’s Standard Liege side dominated the game.
The player who made Standard tick that day was the dynamic midfield playmaker Steven Defour. Defour burst onto the football scene at RC Genk as a 17-year-old in 2005. His breakout season proved him to be a magnificent talent with an incisive passing ability and he soon caught the eye of Dutch giants Ajax before forcing a move to Standard Liege.
In Liege he became captain at just 19, won Belgium’s player of the season and led the team to Jupiler League glory 2 seasons running. It was also during his time at Liege that Manchester United first registered an interest in the talents of the Mechelen born maestro. With a similar style of play to Paul Scholes but with a far more proficient tackling ability and box-to-box mentality he suited the Manchester United mould immediately.
After a broken foot in 2009 Sir Alex Ferguson sent the Belgium international a personal letter wishing him a speedy recovery and if that doesn’t tell you the high regard and esteem thought of him at Old Trafford then not much else will.
Last summer he moved to Porto in what has been a mixed success but he started to return to full fitness toward the end of the season looking the star player he once was for club and country. With Manchester United potentially in the market for a playmaking box-to-box player to help fill out a midfield containing the ill Darren Fletcher, the flaky Anderson and the ageing Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes could United rekindle their interest in the Belgian craftsman?
He is tied down to a long term contract at Porto but don’t let that fool you, last summer he signed a new five year deal with Standard Liege just weeks before agreeing a move to Porto; and moved in similar circumstances from Genk to Standard. This is a player who knows what he wants and knows how to get it and Manchester United would not go wrong to revisit the scouting files labelled Defour, Steven.
Should Manchester United go back in for the 24 year old Belgian?
image: © Nasmac