Burnley break transfer record to sign Anderlecht midfielder Steven Defour
Published 16/08/2016 | 09:41
Burnley have broken their transfer record to sign Belgian midfielder Steven Defour from Anderlecht.
The 28-year-old, who has won 46 caps for his country, has penned a three-year deal at Turf Moor for a fee understood to be in the region of £7.5million that eclipses the initial £6million the Clarets spent on striker Andre Gray last summer.
Defour has become Burnley's fourth signing of the transfer window and will give Sean Dyche the central midfielder he has been craving since Joey Barton left Turf Moor to join Rangers after their promotion.
The move will be seen as a statement of intent from Burnley, whose other acquisitions this summer were Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Nick Pope and Jon Flanagan.
Defour is a two-time Belgian league winner with Standard Liege and he also spent three years at Porto before moving to Anderlecht in 2014 in a move which enraged fans of rival club Standard.
Seven years ago he received a letter from then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson when he was injured in which the Scot claimed he would "remain in contact with Standard" over his reported transfer target's progress.
However, it is only now that he has secured a move to the top flight, a division he hopes Burnley can remain in beyond the first year of his deal.
"I hope I can bring my experience to the team and the club to stay in the Premier League," Defour said.
"I'm looking forward to every game. The atmosphere around the league is fantastic and everyone across the world has seen the Premier League, so I am very proud to be a part of that. It is a new challenge for me, but I like that.
"It has been a long few weeks, but I am very happy to be here.
"When I knew that Burnley was interested, I took some time to look into the club and I saw some interesting stuff.
"I also called a friend of mine who plays at Brentford and he told me Burnley was the best team in the Championship and that it would be a really good choice for me."
It was thought Burnley may have missed out on Defour when interest from Asia emerged but Anderlecht announced that the two clubs had reached an agreement on Friday, with Defour arriving in England on Sunday and conducting his medical the following day.
"Steven was a target of ours and it's been a hard deal to do, but we got there in the end," added Dyche.
"He's a good player with a depth of experience at international level and also Champions League. Steven is new to the Premier League but has a real thirst and desire to be successful in this campaign."
Although Defour's move has now been sealed, Dyche may still be in the market for another central midfielder as David Jones appears to be on the verge of a switch to Championship club Sheffield Wednesday.
Jones had been a mainstay during the previous campaign and started in the 1-0 loss to Swansea last weekend alongside Dean Marney.