Jose Fonte could be on the verge of leaving Southampton after the club refused to offer him a long-term contract in addition to a pay rise, but the club refused to extend his deal beyond 2018.
The centre-back’s current deal runs until 2018, and the 32-year-old now looks like he wants to leave St. Mary’s after a contract dispute, leaving Manchester United on red alert, who are reportedly interested in his services. The defender is also upset by the fact he does not feature in the Europa League for the Saints – a competition they are not out of.
MaisFutbol, a Portuguese publication claim that Southampton will be willing to sell up if they receive a bid upwards of £5m, which is more than within Manchester United’s capabilities.
Manchester United were widely linked with Fonte in the summer, so, of course this news is likely to have alerted Mourinho.
Would Fonte be an upgrade on what United currently have at centre-back?
Due to injuries, Jose Mourinho has had to revert to a centre-back partnership of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. This has worked well recently, but when all fit, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are likely to be Mourinho’s first choice centre-backs. So, how do they compare to Jose Fonte, and would the Southampton man be an upgrade on what United already have?
In terms of tackles won, Fonte wins on average 1.23 tackles per game, and that sits right in between Smalling and Bailly. The Englishman wins just 0.43 tackles per game, Bailly winning the most 1.78. However, Smalling loses the least tackles, also 0.43 per game, Fonte and Bailly both lose 1.44 and 1.46 tackles per game respectively.
Eric Bailly is the best at bringing the ball out confidently from the back, successfully completing 85.71% of take-ons. Fonte completes 50%, whereas Smalling has failed to complete any take-ons this season in the seven Premier League games he has played in this season.
However, Smalling wins the most aerial duels out of the lot. He wins 78.26% of his aerial duels, Fonte wins 58.49% whereas Bailly wins the least with 53.33%. In terms of total duels, Smalling also wins the most with 70.59% of his total duels, Fonte wins 51.30%, again Bailly wins the least with 50% of total duels.
Looking at the stats, it looks like Fonte would bring the best of both worlds. He wins for duels than Bailly, but more tackles than Smalling. With United struggling to see out games, they could really do with another defender at the club. At the price of just above £5m, I think that Jose Fonte would be an excellent signing for Mourinho and Manchester United.