Manchester United have opened talks with fellow Premier League side Southampton over a potential £8 million move for Portuguese centre back Jose Fonte.
Jose Mourinho reportedly wanted to sign two defenders this summer and after the arrival of Eric Bailly from Villarreal, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss is hoping to secure a deal for the Southampton defender.
Fonte, who was an integral part of Portugal’s Euro 16 winning team in France earlier this summer, has established himself as one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League in the past few seasons.
Since his £1.2 million move from Crystal Palace in 2010, the 32-year-old has made over 240 appearances for Southampton before being named club captain in 2014.
And Man Utd, who are keen to make defensive reinforcements by adding experience to the current backline, have reportedly turned their attention to sign the veteran centre back after failing to lure Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci and Real Madrid’s Rafael Varane.
Fonte has reportedly attracted interest from several clubs in Europe but the Portugal International was quick to express his admiration for Man Utd when he was asked to comment over a potential move to Old Trafford this summer.
Fonte said: “If there’s interest, it’s a reason to feel flattered to be associated with a club like Manchester United.
“It’s true that I’ve known Mourinho for many years. We’ve faced each other many times, he knows me well. I have a great admiration for him, he’s one of the best in the world, and it is a source of pride seeing his success.
“Now whether the link makes me on ‘standby’ I don’t know. What I know is that he’s one of the best in the world, if not the best, and if he’s interested in signing me I’m flattered.
“I won’t deny that Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and it makes me happy to be associated with them. But from there to being a Manchester United player there’s a big difference.
Should a deal materialize before 31 August, Fonte will work as an utility player to Man Utd’s first choice central defenders Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Eric Bailly.