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Aug 14, 2014

Steven Defour joins Anderlecht

Anderlecht have completed the signing of Belgium international Steven Defour from Porto.

Defour, 26, had been expected to join PSV Eindhoven this summer but has now completed a controversial return to Anderlecht for a fee reported to be worth up to 6.5 million euros.

The midfielder had played for fierce rivals Standard Liege between 2006 and 2011 and, during his time there, had been publicly critical of Anderlecht. The news of his signing has brought an angry response from fans of both clubs, with some Standard supporters burning shirts.

During his presentation on Wednesday, he told the media: "This wasn't an easy decision and that puts it mildly. I respect Standard and their fans. My time there was fantastic but now and again you have to make choices.

"I had to think of myself. I want to play. I didn't play enough at Porto. At Anderlecht I will have a chance to rediscover my joy of playing football. That is why I didn't have to think that long. My desire to play is very big and that was what mattered most to me."

Asked why he had chosen Anderlecht ahead of PSV, he said: "They have comparable project, of course. I did speak to PSV and I thought it was an interesting option, but they couldn't agree a fee with Porto. They tried but apparently it wasn't enough for Porto.

"I can't tell you the exact details. Apparently, Anderlecht were more convincing to Porto. They have gone to great lengths for me. That is why my choice is 100 percent. I know this is a good place to end up. And playing in the Champions League is good for me, so I can show what I can do."

There has been some suggestion that the move may be a stepping stone for Defour, who had been tipped to play for a number of top European clubs earlier in his career.

When the prospect of him moving on to a bigger club was raised at the player's presentation, chairman Roger Van den Stock said: "He's only just signed and you're already talking about him leaving."

Defour then added: "This transfer may seem like a step backward but I don't feel it is. At Porto, I only played half the games. Here I will probably play more so that I can then take two steps forward."

There had been a suggestion that Defour's arrival may help to convince Daniel Van Buyten to join Anderlecht, but news emerged on Thursday that the 36-year-old had decided to retire.

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