It appears as though Standard Liege are the victims of their own success. The Belgian champions were more than a match for Liverpool in the Champions League preliminary round, going out to an extra-time strike for Dirk Kuyt. They are now very close to knocking Everton out of the UEFA Cup, although it could be at the expense of losing another valuable team player to Middlesbrough.
Setanta report that the north-east club have their sights set on Steven Defour, the 20-year-old captain of Standard Liege. Liege have already seen Marouane Fellaini leave for Everton, although it appears as though they are determined to be adequately compensated for their potential loss.
The 20-year-old Liege captain has already attracted a bid from Ajax and it is clear that the former Genk star would not come cheaply.
“Steven Defour is one player who has been scouted by Middlesbrough but there is still nothing concrete with the directors of the English club,” the player’s agent Paul Stefani told Gazeta van Antwerpen.
“Ajax of Amsterdam offered €8 million last year. It is now clear that my player is worth more than €8 million.”
Middlesbrough are not blessed with a big squad, although their main problem during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom was an inability to finish their chances, rather than create them. Nevertheless, the supporters will be delighted if indeed the club make these sort of quality additions on a regular basis, especially if they have plenty of years in the tank.