Friday, February 3, 2023

Is This Euro 16 Star The Ideal Man To Add More Steel To The Manchester United Defence?

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

Jose Mourinho took charge of Manchester United in the Premier League for the first time with a trip to the Dean Court on Sunday and goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimović (on his Premier League debut) gave him a fitting start to his stint at Old Trafford. The Portuguese genius is one of the biggest spenders in the summer transfer market having acquired the services of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba for more than £140m to help him in his adventure in Manchester. However, Mourinho is still in the market for additions as he looks to strengthen his back line ahead of the challenges in the next season. And one name that is now linked with a move to Old Trafford is EURO16 winner Jose Fonte.

The Southampton veteran was one of the most consistent players for Ronald Koeman in his time at the St Mary’s. At 32, The Portuguese international is an experienced defender who has now entered his 10th year of English football. He started his professional career with the Sporting B side in Portugal. He moved to Crystal Palace on loan from Benfica in 2007 and has ever since been a part of the English domestic leagues.

Fonte had two productive seasons at Palace after his initial year on loan before moving to Southampton in 2010. He has represented the Saints in 243 games in his time at St Mary’s and was on the bench for the game against Watford at the weekend.

A complete package?

Fonte is an agile and athletic defender who reads the game quicker than most other players on the pitch. He as an astute understanding of the game that allows him to stay a step ahead of his opponents which gives him a chance to make a number of crucial interceptions in dangerous areas. He is a disciplined defender with hardly any notable mistakes in his playing career.

He is not the strongest centre-half in the league but is definitely not afraid of putting himself about when needed. He is hard to beat in one-on-one situations as he keeps his defending simple yet he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and can find his teammates frequently.

He played 37 league games for the Saints last season and was one of the many star players for the club that lifted them to their best ever Premier League finish. He also picked up two goals in those games, showing his threat in the air from set-pieces. So it is hardly surprising that Jose Mourinho wants his fellow countryman at Old Trafford this summer. Fonte is expected to cost around the £8m mark and will be the first transfer of the summer for United where they will pay sensible money for their transfers.

The likes of Phil Jones and Daley Blind are acting as covers for Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly in the squad for Manchester United at the moment but the duo are not assured of their places at the club and the fact that Mourinho wants the Portuguese to add to his squad might spell the end of the Manchester United career for either of the two. Jose Fonte has reportedly asked the Saints to let him go this summer and if that is true and Manchester United can get their man, it will be a great step forward for Mourinho who is desperate to improve the quality of his defense. Do you think Jose Fonte will be a good fit at Old Trafford?

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