Burnley’s record-breaking signing Steven Defour has opened up about his heartbreak at failing to seal a move to Manchester United when injury prevented him from joining Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, he said: “Before my injury it [the 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.”
United’s interest in Defour, who joined Burnley from Anderlecht in an £8million transfer deadline day move, was confirmed in October 2009 when the Belgian’s club Standard Liege published a letter Ferguson had sent to him.
Defour, 21 at the time, had suffered a broken metatarsal and was reassured by Ferguson that ‘everything will work out’ despite his setback.
Defour moved to Porto in 2011 before returning to his homeland with Anderlecht.
“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 sure at this moment you will be feeling pretty down and wondering what’s in store for you, whether you will ever get back playing or how long it is going to take before you get back playing.
“Steven these are natural concerns and everyone would think the same way but I must tell you that modern medicine and treatments are incredible and you should trust them.
“Also when you get back to your physio you will feel that maybe you are on the way back but don’t think that’s easy, it’s hard work, I’m sure you know that.
“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. Incidentally, it was one of your supporters who wrote to me informing me of your accident. His name is Jean-Manuel Fontaine, so remember his name, you may want to thank him for taking the time to write to me.
“Good luck Steven and I hope you are in good spirits and ready to climb the long road to recovery.
Sir Alex Ferguson.”