When Jose Fonte departed West Ham for China in February 2018, few football fans would perhaps have predicted that he would be playing some of the best football of his career three years later, chasing a league title with Lille in Ligue 1.
After seven years with Southampton, the centre-back would join West Ham in 2017 for a brief period before his move to Dalian Yifang in China, where he would spend just a few months, completing a free transfer to Lille in the summer of 2018.
Since then, the former Portuguese international has made 103 appearances for Les Dogues, contributing seven goals and three assists in that time.
Considering Southampton’s woeful performances of late, which has seen them pick up just one point out of a possible 24, with no clean sheets in that time, you could definitely argue that they are missing a leader at the back such as Fonte, who is still impressing despite being 37-years-old.
The Saints may definitely regret forcing the defender out of the club in 2017, with the defender suggesting that he had no option but to leave when the club released a transfer request which he did not ask for.
The six foot three centre-back has emphasised this season that he still has the quality to play at the top level, and whilst Southampton are blessed with four solid centre-back options in Jan Bednarek, Jannik Vestergaard, Jack Stephens and Mohammed Salisu, having someone with the experience of Fonte this season could have helped them through their recent terrible form.
Therefore, it could definitely be argued that Southampton made a mistake in forcing Fonte out of the club after he made 286 appearances for them during his spell with the club, as he could have been a very useful player to have this season if they had kept faith in his ability.