Given that Manchester United are reportedly looking for another defender before the summer transfer window closes, news of Jose Fonte’s move from Southampton to Old Trafford has gone relatively quiet since it was reported by ESPN last week. The Portuguese has since played for his club, ironically against United as they were downed by 2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals last Friday night.
Fonte himself didn’t enjoy a distinguished night in the heart of the Saints’ defence; indeed, the Southampton captain was thoroughly overpowered and outmuscled by the Swede for his first goal, a powerful header from Wayne Rooney’s cross in the first half. Southampton made several chances for Shane Long during the game but were comfortably beaten in the end, with Ibrahimovic’s well-struck penalty killing the game after Luke Shaw had been tripped by Jordy Clasie.
Still, one off-night surely won’t have been enough to put off Jose Mourinho from his pursuit of the Portuguese international. For one thing, Fonte has several things going for him that the entirety of his current options at centre back do not possess in spades; experience and leadership.
Fonte’s position as captain of his side is an important note, because it shows he has the skills to lead from the back and be a vocal presence in defence, which is something United have lacked since the days of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
One thing that might also work in United’s favour is that theplayer’s agent is someone that the club have done plenty of business with in the last few years; Jorge Mendes.
Mino Raiola may have stolen the headlines this summer, having helped to bring three of his clients to Old Trafford in the form of Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, but Mendes remains a big part of United’s business these days. Over the last few seasons, he has helped to bring big-name clients like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to the club, whilst he also helped to broker a deal for Marcos Rojo to leave Sporting Lisbon for Old Trafford in 2014.
Of course, there’s also the small matter of Mendes being Mourinho’s agent, and if United harbour genuine ambitions of bringing Fonte to the club before the summer transfer window closes, then discussions between Mourinho and Mendes will surely have taken place in some form. As such, it’s not outside the realms of possibility to suggest that Mendes may have an important role to play in bringing Fonte to United before the end of this month especially as reports today claim the deal is aodds on to happen.