Burnley have confirmed that they have ended the contract of Belgium international Steven Defour.
The 31-year-old had been in the final year of his contract at Turf Moor and was granted his leave to return home for family reasons.
Defour had been an influential player in the centre of the Clarets’ midfield but his time at the Lancashire club was disrupted by injuries. He made 21 Premier League appearances (16 starts) during 2016-17, 24 starts the following season but only six starts last season due to injuries. He had yet to feature for Sean Dyche’s side this season.
He started his career with Genk in 2004 before moving Standard Liege two years later, winning two league titles. Defour spent three seasons with FC Porto between 2011-14, winning the Portuguese Primeira Liga on three occasions. He then returned home to play for two seasons at Anderlecht before giving the English Premier League a shot.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche told the club’s official website:
“Steven has worked really hard throughout the summer to get back to full fitness and has made excellent progress.
“We were looking forward to him playing some part for us later in the season, but for family reasons it is more appropriate for him to return to Belgium.
“We always put the welfare of a player first and hopefully by returning home he can resolve these issues and get the chance to resume his career nearer to his family home.
“Despite his bad luck with injuries, Steven has been an excellent player for us and big part of our squad.
“His quality is beyond question and no-one will forget the key role he played in the first half of the 2017/18 season, when we laid the foundations to finish seventh in the Premier League and qualify for Europe.”
Burnley started the new season with a 3-0 thrashing of Southampton at Turf Moor but have picked up just one point from their three subsequent matches, going down 3-0 at home to Liverpool earlier today.
They will return from the international break to take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday 14 September.