Thursday 22 June 2017

Fresh twist in the Jose Fonte to Manchester United rumours

Jose Fonte
Jose Fonte
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Southampton are determined to do all they can to hang on to their club captain Jose Fonte, despite concrete interest from Manchester United in the 32-year-old defender, sources have been told.

Saints are desperate to hang on to Fonte, even though the centre-back who was a Euro 2016 winner with Portugal this summer is open to the prospect of joining up with Jose Mourinho’s United squad.

After losing Sadio Mane to Liverpool and Victor Wanyama to Tottenham this summer, new Southampton manager Claude Puel is keen to retain the services of Fonte, even though Saints chiefs appreciate their talisman is tempted by a move to link up with Mourinho’s United.

These comments from Fonte earlier this month gave a strong hint that he would be open to a move to United, with his adviser Jorge Mendes also the agent of United boss Mourinho.

“If there’s interest, it’s a reason to feel flattered to be associated with a club like Manchester United.

“It’s true that I’ve known Mourinho for many years. We’ve faced each other many times, he knows me well.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA

“I have a great admiration for him, he’s one of the best in the world, and it is a source of pride seeing his success.

“I won’t deny that Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and it makes me happy to be associated with them, but from there to being a Manchester United player there’s a big difference.

“Obviously after winning Euro 2016 and being on a good level it’s normal that the interest of some clubs should arise, but I’ve got a contract with Southampton and I’m not worried.”

Fresh reports have suggested that Mourinho has been informed that he will not be allowed to add to his squad until the club off-load senior players Marcos Rojo and Bastian Schweinsteiger, yet it is now clear that he views Fonte as a viable option to offer some experience to his relatively youthful defensive line.

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