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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
FC Porto deal for Defour

Wim Van Walle

FC Porto have finalised the signing of Standard Liege captain Steven Defour, subject to the Belgium international passing a medical.

Defour, 23, was previously linked with many big clubs, including Manchester United and Liverpool, while earlier this summer there was a concrete approach from Lokomotiv Moscow that Defour declined.

A later offer from Udinese was also rebuffed, as the Italian club intended to loan Defour out to Spanish La Liga debutants Granada. In spite of the interest, Defour has continued to train with Standard, but he has not taken part in any of their games so far this season.

Relations between player and club, however, have deteriorated in the last number of weeks, with director Pierre Francois stating: "If Defour says he wants to give us something but also indicates he wants to leave, he is contradicting himself."

Coach Jose Riga went a step further, refusing to even talk about Defour. He said: "If you want to talk about Defour, talk to the board."

Meanwhile Defour's agents claimed Standard wanted the player to sign for Udinese or Moscow. "They want to get rid of him and so they now claim he doesn't want to play," said Paul Stefani. "That is blatantly untrue. The truth is Standard want to sell him to any club at all as soon as possible."

It was around that time rumours of Porto's interest surfaced, with claims also made that former Standard coach Luciano D'Onofrio was involved. Standard are reported to receive around €6 million for their captain. A fifth of that fee will go to KRC Genk, where Defour first made his name.

As Standard skipper, Defour won two league titles, the Belgian Cup and the Supercup twice. Individually, he won the Golden Shoe in 2007. In Portugal, he will face off with fellow Belgian international Axel Witsel, who went to Benfica earlier, also from Standard.

Porto have also struck a deal for another young Standard player as well, Eliaquim Mangala. French defender Mangala, 20, joins Defour at his new club for a reported €7 million.




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