Fonte Flattered By United Interest

Jose Fonte has admitted that he is flattered by Manchester United’s interest in him.

According to reports, United are looking to sign a second center-back to partner Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly, who moved to Old Trafford from Villarreal this summer in a deal worth £30 million.

Despite the likes of Phil Jones, Fosu-Menash, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo still at the club, and Chris Smalling on the brink of returning from injury, it was reported earlier this week that Mourinho was in the market for a defender with the qualities of ex-Manchester United center-back Nemanja Vidic.

The Portuguese manager has identified fellow countryman Jose Fonte as the perfect candidate with all the qualities Mourinho desires to fill the specified role. The 32-year-old Southampton captain has been told about United’s reported interest in him, and says that he is flattered by the rumours linking him with a switch to Old Trafford.

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“If the interest is there, it is a reason to be flattered to be associated with a club like Manchester United,” Fonte said, according to Mais Futebol. “But I have a contract with Southampton, and I’m just focused on my work, to make a great season.

“I will not deny that Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world and that it makes me happy to be associated with it. But to be Manchester United’s player is a big difference.”

Eric Bailly made his Premier League debut in Manchester United’s 3-1 win away to Bournemouth in their opening league fixture of the season. He made a huge impression on the fans and the manager, by following up last week’s man of the match performance against Leicester City at Wembley with another one at the Vitality stadium.

However, Bailly is set to miss a large portion of United’s fixtures towards the end of the year, due to Ivory Coast’s involvement in the African Cup of Nations, and Fonte’s presence at the heart of the United defence should fill the gap when the Ivorian leaves for international duty.

Jose talked about the 22-year-old following their 3-1 win on the south coast, and said: “When you buy someone like him there is always a question mark on the way he adapts. Playing in Spain is very different to playing in England, playing to finish fourth or fifth is also different to trying to win it, but he is showing big personality and it’s incredible.”


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