José Fonte has been a player who has carried Southampton from the lower levels of English football to almost European qualification in the span of seven years. The Portuguese defender has been integral in Southampton’s rise from League One. After spending two seasons in League One, the club achieved back-to-back promotions to end up in the Premier League. Fonte has been a regular presence at the back with the 2012-13 campaign being the only troublesome period in his time at the club.
At 32 years of age, few players will reject the opportunity to play for a club like Manchester United especially given that Fonte only has 12 months in his current contract. If Fonte moved to United, he would be José Mourinho’s fifth signing at the club. Despite the presence of several defenders at Old Trafford, it seems that Fonte is intent on making the move possible, although Southampton included him in the squad for the game at Old Trafford this weekend. If Fonte does leave, it presents a huge void for Southampton to fill.
Here are some of the three players who could effectively replace the 32-year-old:
The Wolverhampton youngster has been on the radar of many Premier League clubs in the last few months. West Ham, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and Southampton are some of the names linked with the 21-year-old, who apparently prefers a move to West Ham. However, Claude Puel will be hoping to convince the England under 21 international about a move to the St Mary’s stadium.
Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City tried to sign Aleksandar Dragovic back in January, but pulled out of the deal after learning about the demands of Dynamo Kiev. However, the 25-year-old may not be ready to pass up an opportunity to join a major European league. Hence, Southampton may just be able to pull off the deal at a much lower price than the £25 million fee that scared Leicester City back in January. The Austrian is extremely good in the air and will be an improvement over Fonte in terms of mobility.
Stefan De Vrij
Chelsea were keen on the Lazio defender a few weeks ago but they were unable to complete the £15 million deal. Even at just 24, De Vrij has been able to become one of the best defenders in the Italian Serie A. Compliments cannot get bigger and he will be a perfect fit in the Premier League.