After seven years of commanding the Southampton defensive line, José Miguel da Rocha Fonte has requested to be transferred out. It seems dubious he put in that transfer with West Ham United in mind as rumors were whirling about Manchester United and Liverpool inquiring for the 33 year old.
Many Southampton fans, albeit a bit salty, are saying this is a lateral move, or even a step down for someone who just won the European Championship with Portugal. Perhaps West Ham United isn’t where Fonte thought he’d end up, but it is where he’s going. At 33, he has little to prove. He came to Southampton when they were still in League One, third tier football, fighting for the next level. Once promoted, the captain then led his team, decimating opposition, in one of the toughest and grittiest fixtures in the world, the English Championship.
In 2012, he captained the side that broke through into the Premier League and they haven’t looked back since. In fact, Southampton has become a beacon of hope for many clubs in the lower tiers of English football. Their academy and youth systems are a marker many are trying to replicate, few with success.
Make no mistake, José Fonte is a Southampton legend, and his abrupt departure is as heart crushing to their fans, as it is surprising.
We took to Twitter to see some of those options from both Southampton and West Ham fans. East London supporters are clearly excited, Saints are utterly baffled.
£12m is verging on too much for me. He's worth that but he's a 33 year old who has handed in a transfer request in a position we don't need. https://t.co/GwSwY2weIx— Charlie Walsh (@KingdomOfWHAM) January 19, 2017
@WestHamUtd when I wake up I want the Jose fonte signing to be announced— Sam Mcfadyen (@Sam_hammer13) January 20, 2017
£8million for a 33 year old Jose Fonte who was made to look good by centreback partners— nick scott (@nicksc0tt) January 20, 2017
Jose Fonte will go down as a club legend, however I feel it's tainted by his attitude over the last couple of months #SaintsFC— Rob Price (@SaintRobinho86) January 19, 2017
Would Happily take Jose Fonte on board for a couple years, players like Cahill and Koscielny aren't much younger but are still very solid ⚒— Jack (@JackOM_1203) January 19, 2017
For José Fonte going from Southampton to West Ham isn't that a step sideways!?? Doesn't make footballing sense, more of a money move.— Patto (@ThaBigSize) January 19, 2017
Jose Fonte is a curious signing. Adresses none of the issues in the squad.— Oliver (@MrOlliB) January 19, 2017
Jose Fonte will be a great signing IMO Reid and Fonte great pairing ⚒ #WHUFC— Paul Wood (@ineedaphonecase) January 19, 2017
Jose Fonte signing and Sam Byram return from injury are much, much needed after West Ham's embarrassing defending. Still need goals though.— Brad Pinard (@Brad_Pinard) January 20, 2017
Jose Fonte has made 311 interceptions in the Premier League since 2013/14, only Laurent Koscielny has more in that time (364). pic.twitter.com/95RYqdAju9— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 20, 2017
Just cannot see the logic behind Jose Fonte wanting to leave Southampton for West Ham? Like leaving yes, but for West Ham??#Mystery— Kyle Hine (@kylehine11) January 20, 2017
Jose Fonte hands in transfer request, probably hoping to join Man Utd or Liverpool or Arsenal... Joins West Ham... #WasteOfTime— Aaron Dwyer (@aarondwyer100) January 20, 2017
I don't get why Jose Fonte would leave Southampton for West Ham? Only £ I guess?— Nicole Slayton (@guhoyasfs96) January 20, 2017