West Ham completed the deal to sign centre-back Jose Fonte from Southampton for a fee of £8m last week.
While the signing might have seemed baffling initially, the reason became quite clear after manager Slaven Bilic revealed that centre-back Angelo Ogbonna would be out for the rest of the season, as he is set to have an operation this week to resolve a knee problem that has been bothering him all season.
Everybody was surprised when Jose Fonte decided to join West Ham, but new reports have now surfaced, revealing how Slaven Bilic secured the deal beating United.
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Pilib de Brún of TYT Sports claims that Manchester United were initially offered Fonte in the January window, and Southampton demanded £8 million transfer fee. However, Jose Mourinho, at the very last moment, decided against moving for the Portuguese defender.
Reliably informed Utd were offered Fonte again for 8m before he left Southampton. Mourinho said no, it was too much.
— Pilib de Brún (@Malachians) January 24, 2017
Fonte was also aware of United’s interest and wanted to wait for them to decide whether to pursue the £8 million offer. But Mourinho was perhaps confident that United would snap up Benfica defender Victor Lindelof – a deal which also didn’t happen.
The 33-year-old, who won the European Championship with Portugal last summer, was a key figure in Claude Puel’s defence at St Mary’s, but decided to move after the club refused to give him a new contract beyond the current season. Fonte’s capture is certainly a big coup for West Ham, who have looked vulnerable in defence this term.
So will it prove to be a wise decision for Jose Mourinho to waste the chance to sign the veteran Portuguese defender?