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Jose Mourinho suffers a double blow in defender hunt

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Mourinho looking to bolster his defence
Mourinho looking to bolster his defence

Manchester United’s hopes of signing Southampton captain Jose Fonte appear to have come to an end, with the Portuguese defender confirming he intends to stay at the south coast club.

United manager Jose Mourinho is keen to add a defender to his squad in the final days of the transfer window, with Fonte one of the names who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks.

Fonte suggested he was ‘flattered’ by United’s interest and appeared to be open to a move, yet the defender who was a Euro 2016 winner with Portugal last month has now confirmed he will not agitate for a move ahead of next Wednesday’s transfer deadline.

“The situation of Jose is now finished and he is back to normal,” stated Southampton manager Claude Puel.

“He is now concentrating just on his football and his team. He had a good discussion with the director of football, with the chairman and now everything is okay.

“For Jose it was important for us, for me, to keep him in the squad because he is a good personality, a good professional and has good leadership qualities.”

United have also been linked with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, yet Mourinho may be tempted to stick with his defensive options that could still include Phil Jones, despite suggestions he has been put up for sale.

Stoke are among the clubs that have enquired about the availability of Jones, but Mourinho will not allow the injury-prone defender to leave United in this window unless he finds a suitable replacement.