Southampton boss discusses future of wantaway Fonte

Date published: Thursday 19th January 2017 9:20

Claude Puel says Jose Fonte is fielding several “opportunities” to leave Southampton in the January transfer window.

West Ham have been rumoured to be interested in want-away Saints defender Fonte, and manager Puel has accepted there are several offers on the table for the 33-year-old.

Saints ground past Norwich 1-0 in Wednesday’s FA Cup third round replay courtesy of Shane Long’s last-gasp bundled goal, to book a home clash with Arsenal on January 28.

Euro 2016 winner Fonte’s future remains of top interest however, with Southampton boss Puel predicting progress on a possible deal in the week ahead.

“I think he has some opportunities: he studies these opportunities,” said Puel of Fonte.

“And for Southampton it’s the same. We will see if Jose leaves Southampton; we will see over the next few days.”

Puel handed England Under-21 cap Jack Stephens his first start in his preferred position of centre-back against Norwich, but remained coy on whether the 22-year-old is yet ready to step into Fonte’s shoes.

Refusing to confirm Saints would chase a replacement for Fonte, Puel said: “It was important to see him in his main position of centre-back, having had a couple of starts at right-back.

“It’s interesting to see Jack Stephens in this situation for example.

“Because we know Jose Fonte’s situation, he might leave the club, so it’s important to see Jack’s performances.”

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