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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Southampton star closes in on €9m West Ham switch

Jose Fonte is set to move to London in a deal that could rise to €14 million.

Jose Fonte is set to leave Southampton.
Jose Fonte is set to leave Southampton.

WEST HAM ARE closing in on a deal to sign Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte, according to reports.

The Hammers are in advanced talks to bring the Portuguese defender to the London Stadium this month and have agreed an initial fee of £8 million (€9 million), potentially rising to £12m (€14m), with the St Mary’s outfit.

Fonte has been offered a two-and-a-half year deal from West Ham, with £70,000 per week in wages.

The Southampton skipper declared his future away from the club earlier in the season following his successful Euro 2016 campaign with Portugal in the summer.

Speculation surrounding the 33-year-old’s future saw him linked with Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United as his countryman went about shoring up his defensive unit, though rumours soon deteriorated once the Red Devils’ form picked up.

Southampton boss Claude Puel has since left Fonte out of first-team squads, though the Frenchman insists he has remained professional throughout.

“Jose has different possibilities,” said the Saints boss. “He has the solution and the opportunity to see this, and we will see what the situation is in a few days.

He was in training this morning with the players and he works normally with good spirit, and like a professional.

“This situation with Jose is difficult for the squad. It’s difficult for him also. It’s not just about this market; it’s been since the beginning of the season.

It’s been a difficult situation for Jose because he’s always in discussions with the club, about contracts, or no contracts.

“I took a decision at the beginning of this window to keep Jose out the team, to study different possibilities, and to protect the team from all this speculation about Jose.

“With this many games it’s important to keep focused about our game, not just on the situation of Jose. It’s difficult, but the squad can take the responsibilities.”

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