Arsenal join race for Defour

Liverpool and Manchester United target Steven Defour will not be leaving Standard Liege this January, after reports from France suggested that Arsenal had thrown their hat into the ring for the much coveted midfielder.

United and Liverpool are believed to have been taking a close look at the Belgian international for the last 18 months, with Arsenal following suit, until a leg break sustained in September 2009 scuppered any potential move.

Emirates Stadium supremo Arsene Wenger is thought to want the 22-year-old to beef up his midfield following a string of lacklustre displays shown by his young Gunners squad.

While the fact that Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson sent a letter to the player after breaking his leg has been widely reported.

However, the player’s agent Paul Stefani has revealed that a recent injury setback has distinguished any future deal until the summer.

After being voted as the most valuable player in the Belgian League in 2008, it was only a matter of time before Europe’s biggest teams would show an interest in the former Racing Genk player.

But a series of injury problems have raised doubts over his fitness levels and Defour's representitive believes he should be given time to recover ahead of any move to Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United.

“At this moment I don’t know what the situation is with any moves for Steven in January,” Stefani told

“The problem is he is still injured, and he is still six weeks away from recovering from injury.

“I don’t think it is possible that Mr. Wenger is saying he wants him now, a deal in January is impossible. I have heard nothing of any approaches.

“The only thing I know is he must recover from injury and he needs games. Hopefully he will come back successfully and then we could look at something in June. But the main thing is Steven’s recovery from injury.”

By Matt Maltby