No place for Fonte in Southampton’s EFL Cup semi-final squad

Southampton defender Jose Fonte will continue his exile from the squad when the club take on Liverpool in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg at St Mary’s on Wednesday night.

Fonte has made it clear that he wants to leave the club after submitting a transfer request last week.

The centre-back has previously been linked to Manchester United and Everton, but it is unclear where the 33-year-old will end up, or if he will even leave in this window.

As far as manager Claude Puel is concerned, though, Fonte’s request to leave the club is proving to be a distraction and will therefore keep him out of the cup squad.

During his pre-match press conference, Puel told reporters:

“Jose doesn’t participate in this game. We will see for the next game but, for the moment and with the situation of Jose, it’s important to keep the stability in defence. We don’t know the future for Jose. It’s a difficult situation with the [transfer] window.”

Despite his desire to leave, Fonte has been a prominent figure in the team this season having started 17 of the club’s 20 Premier League games.

The defender, who has also been in the first XIs for two EFL Cup fixtures, lost his captaincy to Virgil van Dijk when he was dropped from the squad last weekend.

Southampton may also face a struggle to keep Van Dijk as the former Celtic defender has been linked with a move away, but unlike Fonte, the club are not prepared to let him go.

Saints executive director Les Reed recently told the Daily Echo that the 25-year-old is not for sale.