As reported by The Daily Mirror, Everton are ready to make their move for Southampton veteran Jose Fonte.
Jose Fonte is almost certain to be leaving St. Mary’s this January after handing in a transfer request and being dropped for recent games, amid significant transfer speculation.
Quoted by The Mirror, Southampton boss Claude Puel recently said about his non-selection:
“Jose does not participate in this game. We see for the next game. For me it is important to keep stability in the defence first, and second we will see if the situation of Jose in this market. After it will be another thing, but for the moment it’s a situation about the possibility of Jose and different possibilities for him for the moment.”
The paper seem to think that’s Puel’s way of saying the manager is open to offers this month.
Everton are at the front of the queue but will have to shell out a significant sum to land him, with the Mirror saying Southampton are holding out for £12m for the Portuguese defender.
Fonte’s exit will be an emotional one given that the Southampton captain has made close to 300 appearances for the Saints over the years, and has been instrumental in their rise to become one of the Premier League’s most consistent clubs.
His departure would leave a big gap at the back at St Mary’s, which is a real worry with the future of Virgil van Dijk also in doubt.
His incredible rise was highlighted this summer when he played every knockout game, including the final, at Euro 2016 as his Portugal side won the trophy for the first time.
A player with vast experience he’d likely improve Everton’s backline, at least in the short term until they find a younger, longer-term solution.