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Defour ready to make next step

Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour has revealed he could be ready to take the next step in his career amid interest from Manchester United.

United get £100m transfer kitty
Ferguson sends letter to Defour

Belgium international Defour, 22, is one of the most highly-rated young talents in his homeland and news emerged of United's interest when Sir Alex Ferguson sent the player a letter after he suffered a broken foot late last year.

Defour has now recovered his fitness and reports of a switch to the Premier League are rife, with Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson having scouted the player in recent weeks, and he has suggested he could now be ready to move on.

"I know that Manchester United are monitoring me, but there hasn't been any contact," Defour told Belgian TV programme Extra Time. "I've been sidelined for quite a while due to the injury, but I'm playing at a high level again.

"If everything goes well and I continue playing as I am, there is a better chance of me leaving than there was at the start of the season.

"I've had the opportunity to leave Standard on a couple of occasions, but I loved the club too much to leave. However, I'm 22 years old now and I also have to think about myself. There comes a time when you just have to make the next step in your career, regardless of your feeling for the club."

On his injury, he added: "The pain is much less severe than it was at the beginning of the season. The pain will eventually disappear altogether, but I have to do my exercises every day and work hard."

Defour's agent, Paul Stefani, said recently that a January move is a "possibility".

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