Despite leaning towards a move to Manchester United, Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte has emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal.
The Gunners began the new season in the worst possible way as they were defeated by fellow title challengers Liverpool 4-3 at the Emirates Stadium. Due to a number of injuries in the defensive department, 19-year-old Rob Holding was handed a shock start against Liverpool. It wasn’t the worst of games for the youngster, but it saw Wenger left with just one centre-half on the bench.
Recntly, Arsenal have been in talks with Schalke defender Shkodran Mustafi over a possible £20 million coup, but it appears that the deal has hit a roadblock due to the Wenger’s low valuation of the player. However, it now seems that the Frenchman has set his sights on Southampton defensive stalwart Jose Fonte.
According to Andy Mitten of ESPN, Arsenal have joined Manchester United in the race to secure the services of the highly-rated Portuguese defender. It is understood that the player favours moving to Old Trafford, but has received an offer from the London based club.
Jose Fonte has impressed during his time in the Premier League, but might not be an ideal signing for Arsene Wenger. While speaking about the outrageous fee United paid for Paul Pogba, the Arsenal coach explained what he sees in a new signing.
“Price normally depends on the talent of the player, the expected strengthening they bring to your squad, and age and resale value,” Wenger said. “But we are also in a competition as well, so if someone offers £40m for a player, you have to pay £45m.”
Fonte, despite being an astute defender, is in the twilight of his career. The Portugal international, who is on the back of a Euro 2016 triumph, will turn 33 in December. Given Wenger’s preference of opting for a youngster instead of a veteran, the link with Fonte makes little sense.
Also, there would be a considerable dip in the resale value of the player as he would be nearing his retirement. Thus, Fonte would not tick all boxes for the Arsenal manager, which makes his chances of switching to Emirates this summer highly unlikely.
Will Fonte be a good signing for Arsenal?