Friday, September 29, 2023

Why This Portuguese Could Be The Ideal Defensive Recruit For Manchester United

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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.

Manchester United, even with their mini dip in form, are one of the favorites to lift the Barclays Premier League title this season, with the amount of quality in the squad.  Jose Mourinho, the new manager at the club brought in a striker, a winger, a midfielder and a defender in the offseason and has looked to create a balance in the side that can help them achieve their goals for the season. However, the club has its own weaknesses that were evident in the losses to Manchester City and Watford and Mourinho is already looking at possible options to solve the problem in January.

One such player who is yet again linked with the club is Southampton defender Jose Fonte. The 32-year old Portuguese international is one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League for some time now and has been a loyal servant for the Saints since their time in the third tier of English football.

He stuck with the team through thick and thin, staying strong as ever, and helped them to a 6th placed finish in the previous season, the club’s best ever finish in the top flight. He also won the EURO16 with the Portuguese national team where he had a good rapport with Real Madrid defender Pepe to help his side to glory. So it does not come as a surprise that Manchester United wanted to sign him in the summer and are still keeping tabs on him.


Reports today revealed that Southampton are ready to offer him a new deal worth £70,000-a-week but the same report says that Fonte is looking for an improved offer and may make a move to Old Trafford soon if the issue is not resolved. Fonte’s move to Manchester United is not too far away from a perfect match.

He is one of the most disciplined and robust defenders who has equal ability in the air and also on the ground. He is a strong centre half who loves to demand his penalty and his experience, in Europe and also in England, make him a great acquisition for any club in the top flight.

At 32, he has seen almost everything in the Premier League and it does not come as a surprise if he makes the move to Old Trafford. For a player of his calibre, Fonte is yet to play for a top class club in Europe and has no real taste of victory or trophies in his time in England. He has been more than a decent defender for a long time now and has only become better with age. He only made his international debut at 30, showing his class even at that age and United will know that these are his best years and that they have to act fast to get their man.

Mourinho has used the likes of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, and Daley Blind in a centre back position so far this season but has not been able to depend on anyone combination for every game. Bailly and Smalling have done a decent job but Mourinho will know that it is not a partnership that can win him the title. He will need an experienced campaigner who will keep the back line organized even under pressure and this is where Fonte comes in.

Playing for a manager of his own nationality, Fonte will be comfortable with Mourinho’s approach to the game and should blend into the team within no time. He may even cement a place in the starting XI and can help United form a solid defence line that will be close to impossible to break. Phil Jones, the only other option for the boss, has not earned his respect from Mourinho and though he is close to a return to training, it is hard to see him play a huge role in the side.

The Portuguese is in the form of his life at the moment and will hope that he can make the switch to Old Trafford but it is to be seen if Claude Puel is happy to let him or if he will offer a wealthier contract to keep him at the club. Do you think Untied should go for Fonte this January?

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