Saints defender Fonte asks to leave

Southampton captain Jose Fonte has made an official transfer request, with Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton all linked with the central defender.
Southampton captain Jose Fonte has made an official transfer request, with Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton all linked with the central defender.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Southampton captain Jose Fonte has made an official transfer request, with Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton all linked with the central defender.

The 33-year-old Portuguese international could move away from St Mary's this transfer window because he has only 18 months left on his contract.

Southampton director of football Les Reed said he had rejected an improved deal - a claim the player said is untrue.

"He's had several opportunities to improve the contract situation. He's reserved his right not to do that," Reed told BBC Radio Solent.

"He's made it very clear he would like to explore the opportunities for a transfer.

"That's where we are at the moment, Jose wants to leave the club. He's formally asked for a transfer."

Underlining the discord between player and club, Fonte, who joined from Crystal Palace for £800,000 (S$1.4 million) in 2010, wrote on Instagram last month: "Just to set the record straight: I did not reject a new contract.

"In fact, I have been informed by Southampton that they are not offering me a new contract."

The central defender, who helped Portugal win the European Championship last year, has grown increasingly frustrated this season.

He was not selected by manager Claude Puel for any of the club's six Europa League matches.

Fonte, reportedly valued by Southampton at around £13 million, has made 19 appearances in all competitions for the club this season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'Saints defender Fonte asks to leave'. Print Edition | Subscribe