Everton looking to do Defour deal with Anderlecht this summer?
Everton, 11/10 chances with Coral for a top 10 finish this term, have been sending scouts to run the rule over Anderlecht and Belgium midfielder Steven Defour ahead of a reported summer move, according to press in Britain and abroad.
Previously a target of Manchester United before he sustained serious injury, 27-year-old Defour, who has already played outside his homeland with Porto, could now be brought to the Premier League by Toffees boss Roberto Martinez.
Goodison Park has been a hotbed for Belgian talent in recent seasons with Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas all plying their trade for the blue half of Merseyside.
Combative midfielder Defour would add steel to Everton’s midfield, which has been lacking since the club allowed Fellaini to join former boss David Moyes at Man Utd in the summer of 2013.
Winger Mirallas, meanwhile, has been linked with leaving Merseyside, with a suggested swap for on-loan Spurs winger Aaron Lennon mooted in some quarters.
Martinez has also reportedly been keen to snap up Tom Cleverley on a free transfer, once his contract at Old Trafford ends this summer, but Aston Villa (where he is presently on loan) may want to sign him permanently.
Four caps shy of a half century for Belgium, Defour faces stiff competition at international level, with Tottenham’s Moussa Dembele, Fellaini, Roma anchorman Radja Nainggolan and Axel Witsel of Zenit St Petersburg all in contention under Marc Wilmots.
Moving to a higher profile club like the Toffees and a more challenging division than playing domestically should enhance his prospects of playing for his country. Belgium (odds-on 2/9 favourites to finish top of Group B) should qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France next summer, with Wales their only real challengers in the pool.
Defour would be a younger alternative to the ageing Gareth Barry and injury-prone Darron Gibson to go alongside James McCarthy in Everton’s engine room.