In August Burnley broke their transfer record to sign Steven Defour from Belgian club, Anderlecht for £8 million. However, this could all have been different had Defour not broke his foot back in 2009, as he may have got a move to the North West of England but to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, not Burnley.
Defour, playing for Standard Liege at the time was due to play in the Champions League with the club, but just three days before he broke the metatarsal in his foot which ruled him out of action for a prolonged period. When talking about the injury to Sky Sports News HQ, he said:
“Before my injury it [a United move] was one of the possibilities, because I knew they were following me but then came that severe injury and that was quite a hard one from me. It was an open fracture of my foot and I was really down because, for the first time, I could have played in the Champions League and then three days before I broke my foot so I was really down. It was difficult to find my form before my injury to have the level of a club like Manchester United.”
Defour recently revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson sent him a letter during his time injured, which informed him of United’s interest as Ferguson wished him a speedy recovery and ensured him that he would be in contact with Standard Liege to be kept up to date with Defour’s recovery. Ferguson said:
“Dear Steven, I have just been given the news of your serious injury during one of your games and would like to on behalf of Manchester United wish you a full and speedy recovery. I am going to pay attention as to how you are progressing and I am going to get in touch with your club to get the information on your recovery. Good luck Steven and I hope you are in good spirits and ready to climb the long road to recovery. Yours sincerely, Sir Alex Ferguson.”
A move to Old Trafford never materialised for Defour and he moved to Porto in 2011, before returning to his homeland in 2014 when he signed for Standard Liege’s arch rivals Anderlecht, a move which drew much controversy and he even had his life threatened when he faced his former club and a banner showing his severed with the slogan “Red or Dead” was present at the game.
Now 28 years old a move to United looks like it’ll never happen, but after moving to Burnley he will finally get the chance to play at Old Trafford in the Premier League, but unfortunately for him, it will be as an opposition player not as a Red. Defour looks to be the driving force from midfield that can hopefully help Burnley avoid the drop and remain in the Premier League next season, he’s already made an impact for his new side after scoring against Hull to draw the game 1-1. Who’s to know what may have been for Defour and United had he never got injured?