Manchester United’s summer spending may not be over with Jose Mourinho targeting another central defensive addition.
The Red Devils discussed the possibility of signing Leonardo Bonucci, 29, during negotiations over 23 year-old midfielder Paul Pogba’s record breaking transfer but Juventus made it clear he was not for sale.
Southampton’s Jose Fonte, 32, has emerged as the likeliest candidate to satisfy Mourinho’s desire to add experience to Eric Bailly’s exuberance. The Portuguese international was a mainstay of the defence during this summer’s triumphant Euro 2016 campaign.
Fonte knows his way around English football having spent 2½ years with Crystal Palace before joining Southampton in January 2009. During his time at St Mary’s he matured into one of the Premier League’s most reliable defenders and came to international prominence, making his Portugal debut against Argentina in 2014, ironically at Old Trafford.
Mourinho has been linked with Raphael Varane, 23, a player he knows well from his time in charge at Real Madrid.
However, Bernabeu chiefs have made it clear that they are not minded to sell the unsettled centre back without a replacement already in place. With the transfer window closing at the end of the month, a deal seems unlikely to happen.
Southampton, conscious of the player’s age, are likely to demand no more than £8m for the central defender although new boss Claude Puel will be reluctant to lose his captain at this stage of the season.
Read all transfer ins and outs, completed deals visit football transfer news.