Agent of Belgian international confirms Villa interest

USA TODAY Sports

Belgian site Voetbalkrant reports that Aston Villa have expressed interest in Steven Defour.

Steven Defour's agent Paul Stefani has confirmed Aston Villa's interest in the 25-year-old Porto and Belgium midfielder. Stefani was quick to clarify that nothing was imminent and that while Defour is concerned about his lack of playing time ahead of the World Cup, he was not desperate to leave Estádio do Dragão in the current window. Defour has been the subject of rumors connecting him to Villa for several days now, and this report taken with Lambert's presence at Porto's Champions League clash with Atlético Madrid on December 11th would seem to lend those rumors some credence. Defour has piqued the interest of several other clubs, most notably Bundesliga side Schalke who are currently four points out of the Champions League places.

Of the targets to which Villa have been plausibly connected so far in this window, Defour certainly appears to be the most attractive; very much a deep-lying playmaker, his game would suit Villa's counter-attacking style perfectly and offer an immediate and significant upgrade to a midfield that is big on grit but sorely lacking in guile. Whether Villa would be able or willing to pay the required transfer fee is another matter, especially if other clubs enter the fray and drive up the price; Defour moved to Porto in 2011 for just under ₤5,000,000, and though his absolute value has likely taken a bit of a hit in that time, transfer fees tend to become inflated in the January window.

This would be an incredibly exciting signing for Villa, not only because Defour is a known player that fills a significant hole, but also because it would demonstrate that Paul Lambert sees the same deficiencies in his squad as many others. At the moment, Villa have the makings of a squad with some decent depth; the issue is that the players that should be providing that depth are instead in the first team. If you're of the belief that Villa's one or two major upgrades away from being a top-half side, adding Defour would likely make you very happy. On the other hand, Villa fans have seen similar links in the past few years amount to nothing. So unless you're especially eager to relive the Younes Belhanda saga, it's probably best not to get too excited just yet.

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