A fee of £5m was agreed with West Ham United for the 34-year-old centre-back who hasn’t been seen in the first team since suffering an ankle injury last October.
With a place in the Portugal squad for the 2018 World Cup finals at stake, Fonte took a chance that regular first-team football of any sort is better than a place on the Hammers bench.
Moyes appreciated Fonte’s position, commenting that “He’s just back from injury and in a condition to play so we wish him good luck, and he’s been a great professional since I’ve been here.”
It brings to an end his short stay in the East End. Fonte moved from Southampton in January 2017 for £8m but failed to impress David Moyes since the Scot took over from Slaven Bilic.
With their bad run of injuries seemingly coming to an end, Moyes felt the moment to let the Portuguese defender go had arrived.
New Zealand centre back Winston Reid is back in first-team contention for the weekend trip to Liverpool, closing down another avenue for Fonte back to the West Ham starting line-up.
A move to China is a risk with no guarantee that the Portuguese hierarchy will travel to the league to watch a player who, while experienced, is not irreplacable.