Manchester United have been handed a boost ahead of the January transfer window after contract talks between Jose Fonte and Southampton broke down, according to reports.
Fonte, who has 18 months left on his contract, was subject to interest from Jose Mourinho in the summer, but the Portuguese made it clear that he was focused on his endeavours at Southampton.
The 32-year-old, now in his eighth season at Saint Mary’s, has been in talks with Southampton over a potential new deal since the summer.
However, according to ESPN‘s Peter O’Rourke, talks between Fonte’s representatives and the club have ground to a halt, paving the way for Mourinho to make a bid for the defender in January.
There is no doubt that Fonte – tall, powerful, commanding in his demeanour and experienced at this level – fits Mourinho’s desired mould for a centre-back. Even at the age of 32 he remains potent, forming the heart of a growingly impressive Southampton back line.
The Portuguese has seen numerous talents thrive at Saint Mary’s and leave for bigger, more high-profile challenges, but has always maintained loyalty himself. Perhaps he is merely waiting for the right moment – the perfect opportunity. And as he enters the latter stages of his career, a chance to impress under Mourinho may he hard to turn down.