The Euro 2016 winner continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford, but does he posses the character and ability to truly bolster Jose Mourinho’s squad?
Given the signings already made by Man Utd this summer, it is difficult to believe that a large group of supporters feel Jose Mourinho should still be looking for further additions before the close of the transfer window on August 31. But with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all brought in to help bolster the attack, attention is now turning to the other end of the pitch.
Though Leonardo Bonucci and Kostas Manolas have both been linked with moves from Serie A to the Theatre of Dreams, it is Southampton’s Jose Fonte whose name is beginning to crop up more and more in relation to a possible new arrival. And despite Mourinho claiming he is now happy with his squad thanks to the four new arrivals, home supporters would be forgiven for keeping an analytical eye on the Saints captain at Old Trafford on Friday evening.
So what would he offer that United do not already have? At 32, he certainly brings the experience that Man Utd fans are craving, having helped Southampton go from League One and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy to the Premier League and the Europa League. His role in Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph, too, should not be underplayed.
Having been left out during the group stages, Southampton’s Jose Fonte introduction into Fernando Santos’s side coincided with some markedly improved defensive displays and though they were not the most entertaining side to watch in France, his partnership with Pepe was arguably the best at the tournament.
His statistics for the 2015-16 club campaign also compare favourably with those of of Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Bailly and though all three have their obvious strengths, Fonte’s history suggests he would not be out of place if thrown into the backline. His aerial ability is without doubt and though his passing game is not at the same level of either Blind or Bailly, it is likely he would be partnered with one those players rather than replace them in the line-up.
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