Thirteen months ago, Jose Fonte was billed as West Ham Unite’s marquee January signing, along with Robert Snodgrass. Thirteen months later, he becomes the latest exit from the club in such a short period of time.
In a shock move out of nowhere, the injured Portuguese international has decided to take his career to the financially lucrative but financially volatile Chinese Super League to play for Dalian Yifang. Fonte completed the move Friday to end his disappointingly short tenure with the club.
David Moyes indicated in the press conference that the centerback made the out of nowhere decision because he wanted to keep his World Cup playing hopes alive for Fernando Santos’ European champions.
“It gives him the chance to try something new and he wants to get into the Portugal squad for the World Cup,” the manager said in Friday’s pre-match press conference ahead of the Liverpool match at Anfield. ”If he was playing regularly he has a better chance. He’s just back from injury and has got himself back into condition to play. We wish him good luck. He’s been a really good professional since I have been here.”
But many also feel Fonte’s choice to leave West Ham was sealed when co-owner David Sullivan expressed regret in December over signing him and Snodgrass in last season’s January window. The 34-year-old clearly did not take Sullivan’s criticism lightly, issuing a direct response by calling those words full with “ignorance.”
“It’s not going to change what I do,” Fonte said. “I’m going to keep being the good professional that I am. I am going to keep working hard to try and help my team-mates and the manager.”
”What has been said has no effect on me or who I am. I am 33 years of age. I have 500 or 600 appearances.”
Regardless of the unfortunate exit, Fonte wished his now former club well on his new Twitter page, as he embarks on his late club career journey.
Would just like to say a massive thank you to all the fans of @WestHamUtd for your support during my time at this club, I wish you the best of luck in the future ⚒⚒— Jose Fonte (@f6nte) February 23, 2018
And Joao Mario wished his friend and countryman a smooth exit.
Good luck brother! I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your career! pic.twitter.com/BRXfE1Dxve— João Mário (@joaome17) February 23, 2018