Fresh twist in Jose Fonte's links with Man Utd
Southampton officials are determined to do all they can to hang on to club captain Jose Fonte, but they fear he may have his heart set on a move to Man Utd, sundayworld.com sources understand.
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 Jose 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.
“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.