Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United rebuild has blown a £157 million hole in the club’s pocket, but he’s not done yet.
Having already signed Eric Bailly to improve his defensive options, Mourinho is chasing one more centre back to add further depth, with Southampton’s Jose Fonte the target, according to the Manchester Evening News.
It’s certainly one of the more unexpected transfer rumours, but a fee of £11 million would be enough to secure the signing of the Saints’ captain.
Fonte only signed a new three year deal at St. Mary’s last year, but, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times, has a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in place, that will allow the Portuguese international to leave for a bigger club.
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) August 14, 2016
Fonte was a key part of Portugal’s Euro 2016 winning squad, and has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most reliable centre backs.
And when you’ve currently got Marcos Rojo and the ever injured Phil Jones as your current backups, you can understand Mourinho’s desire for another defender.
Whether or not Southampton will honour the agreement or not remains to be seen, as it’ll signify another summer where their players (and even their manager) have been cherry picked by bigger clubs.
They’ve already lost Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Ronald Koeman this summer, so losing a player they’ve had for six years would be another huge blow.
Mourinho’s chase for Fonte is helped by the fact that the pair share an agent, Jorge Mendes, which would smooth negotiations should they begin.
Mendes would certainly be a welcome change from Mino Raiola, who United must be sick of the sight of after chasing Paul Pogba all summer.
Fonte may not be the marquee name United were hoping for (they were linked with Leonardo Bonucci and Raphael Varane earlier this summer), but would certainly do a job for Mourinho.
Whatever happens, it’s certainly clear that United are doing all they can to return to the summit of the Premier League.