The central defender is now “exploring” the possibilities of a transfer away from St Mary’s, after rejecting the opportunity to sign a new contract in recent months
Southampton captain Jose Fonte has submitted a transfer request, the Premier League club have confirmed.
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The 33-year-old Portugal centre-back’s deal at St Mary’s Stadium runs until June 2018 and director of football Les Reed has now reveaed that he has opted not to sign fresh terms.
“He’s had several opportunities to improve the contract situation. He’s reserved his right not to do that,” Reed told BBC Radio Solent.
“He’s made it very clear he would like to explore the opportunities for a transfer.
“That’s where we are at the moment, Jose wants to leave the club. He’s formally asked for a transfer.”
Fonte, who has made 288 appearances for Saints since joining from Crystal Palace in January 2010, was linked with Manchester United after helping Portugal to Euro 2016 glory.
He rejected reports he had turned down a new deal at Southampton last month, posting on his Instagram page: “Just to set the record straight I did not reject a new contract. In fact, I have been informed by Southampton that they are not offering me a new contract.”
However, Reed insists Southampton were keen to reward the player with a pay rise and an additional 12 months on top of his existing deal.
“What was offered to Jose was, in my view, quite significant off the back of the contract he signed in October 2015,” Reed added.
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“Six months later we were prepared to improve that contract and extend it. He has turned down the opportunity to increase his salary, and he’s turned down the opportunity to get another permanent year on his contract.”
Fonte’s central defensive partner at Southampton, Virgil van Dijk, has also been the subject of recent transfer speculation, with Everton and Manchester City both thought to be admirers of the Netherlands international.