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Saints Reportably Ready To Let Fonte Go ! Suggesting Replacement Is Already Lined Up !
Tuesday, 6th Dec 2016 10:08

The media are reporting that Saints have made the decision to let Jose Fonte go in January, given that they have no quality replacement already at St Mary's it suggests that we have his replacement in our sights.

The situation with Jose Fonte is a strange one, a year ago he had just signed a new deal with the club to take him past his 34th birthday and age when few players can continue to perform to their previous standards week in week out.

Back then Fonte was very happy with the deal and in interviews always spoke glowingly about how proud he was to Captain Saints and what he hoped the club could achieve.

So what has changed ?

In simple terms one thing, he changed his agent to fellow Portugese agent Jorge Mendes and that along with going from being very much a bit part player in the Portugal squad to suddenly being in their European Championship winning team meant that he has seemingly started to think that the grass could be greener elsewhere.

Certainly wiser football brains are puzzled whyhe should be linked with Manchester United on a footballing point of view, but when you consider that Mendes is a close friend of current Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho you can suddenly put two and two together and come to the conclusion that if Fonte was to go to Old Trafford then it might be fatal for his football career, but very good for the bank balances of both him and Mendes and the super agent would be very grateful to Mourinho for making this happen.

Certainly few other clubs are interested, Everton supposedly made an offer in the summer and the Mendes/Fonte camp seem eager to blacken Les Reed in this respect by putting it about in the press that Reed did not inform Fonte of the Everton offer.

This is hogwash, this is 2016 deals are done with agents before clubs make offers, Les Reed would know more than anyone that if Everton make an offer for Fonte, Jorge Mendes would have been well aware of it, indeed would have spoken to Everton himself as the Toffees would have been making sure that the player would be open to such a deal before making their move.

That being the case why would Reed keep secret something that he knows Fonte already knows and to be blunt probably knew before Reed himself.

But these are all tactics aimed at unsettling clubs and creating situations for players to move, indeed perhaps Fonte himself does not want to move, but agents make money by players and Managers moving on and as we found in the Ronald Koeman saga, the agent was the driving force in forcing it to a point where there was too much money on offer to turn down.

So now we have the press telling us that Saints are prepared to let Fonte go, bear in mind this is the same press that have been telling s for weeks that Sam McQueen is off to Liverpool with the player signing a long term deal yesterday, something he would not do if he was off in January.

From a Saints perspective they are probably far more inclined to let Fonte go than they would have been four months ago, they know the player is not getting any younger, he is at an age where his form will start to slowly decline, perhaps not noticeably just yet, but he will start to lose a yard or two in pace and that causes other areas to decline.

Knowing how Saints operate they will already be looking at replacements and now they feel less loyalty to Fonte than they have done, last season he was a loyal servant to the club and I think from that point of view Saints were not happy with pushing him out, now they see him as just another player being led astray with a troublesome agent.

In fairness to Fonte he continues to be a model professional on the pitch and you cannot completely blame him for wanting to cash in on the twilight of his career, like the Koeman case it is merely a situation where every man has his price, Fonte was happy with his new contract a year ago because no one was willing to pay him that elsewhere, that has changed.

So I think in January Saints now see it as good business to get the £5 million being reported as on the table and will accept it as long as they can land the target they have in mind.

There will be some Saints fans who again will accuse us of being a selling club etc etc, but this in fact proves the opposite, it shows that we operate to a structure, it is about moving players on for the right time at the right price.

Three years ago we had a team that got us to 8th place in the League, if the team had stayed intact it would have struggled to get much higher the following season because there would have been little money for new signings.

Our squad would not have had the depth that it has now having benefited from not only
reinvestment of income received but the development of youth.

We have progressed forward in these three years "Because" of our structure and not "In Spite Of It"

There are those who say that we can't keep selling players and stay in the top ten, I would say we most definitely can as long as the so called big six are happy to pay us over the top for players and prefer to pay big money for established players rather than look for the gems like Van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu etc etc, all players who have been overlooked and indeed sold by so called big clubs.

I hope Jose Fonte stays, after all he could get another medal and enjoy more success at St Mary's, but if he goes then I have every confidence that we will continue to improve the team and indeed the squad.

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SanMarco added 10:44 - Dec 6
So- all the agent's fault and everything is wonderful in Saints land. I do hope those rumours of a VVD release clause aren't true - following TUI editorial logic we would then need to buy 3 centre backs in January.

I am glad that Nick knows what is going on, and that we are still 'moving forward' - it doesn't feel like that from where I am sitting, but then I am just a whinger who doesn't appreciate the marvellous attacking football we are playing and believes that dismantling our defensive structure might not be too bright halfway through what could well turn into a difficult season.

"There are those who say that we can't keep selling players and stay in the top ten..." Yes I've noticed that too. Not sure how selling a Euro winning centre-half for peanuts half way through a season is going to prove them wrong. Editorial logic suggests that Redmond doesn't have to score many until March because that was when Mane came good last season - but what happens, whisper it, if Redmond is nowhere near as good as Mane? Sorry to be grumpy but this news does not fill me with optimism. I wish it did, as I could do with some right now (optimism that is). January should be for righting some of the mistakes made in the summer - not adding to them.

At least it has removed the tension as to whether Fonte will be on the teamsheet on Thursday though....
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GeordieSaint added 10:53 - Dec 6
It would be a shame as I think he has several good years left and would be hard to replace with the sort of money he will bring in. He has been a legend for us all the way through from his first signing. You can't blame him though if Man U are calling with a huge signing on fee. I agree that if the board are considering letting him go they must have a replacement lined up. Can they pull another rabbit out of the hat?
Lovren
Toby
VVD in successive seasons. Incredible recruitment and it may well continue. However, if I had anything to do with it I would offer him a longer deal on bigger dough and gradually phase him out, great to have Jose as 3rd or 4th choice with maybe moving into the coaching team after that.
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steve73 added 11:09 - Dec 6
Another ludicrous, deluded cut and paste of previous articles. How you have the nerve to write tripe like that in such a condescending fashion is staggering. Who in their right mind would advocate tampering with our defence mid-season when it's the only thing keeping us competitive? We can't score and lack creativity but are fairly good at keeping them out; at least most of the time. So let's sell Fonte on the cheap, the cornerstone of the team and the only one left that could possibly be called a legend. Excellent idea. Oh and why not replace him with a barely fit for purpose journeyman. I'm sure you'll be clamouring for a public holiday to celebrate the flogging of VVD to Liverpool too. Selling quality players is not usually a good thing. There's no financial pressure here, just a business model which is putting profit ahead of stability and sporting success. Why would 'wiser football brains' (?!?!) applaud that?
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Archersclose added 12:34 - Dec 6
Nick, How you have changed since those early SISA days eh? For me we should keep Fonte til the summer. To risk tampering with our defence half way through the season could prove disastrous, especially as we are the 4th lowest scorers in the Premier League! It's obvious to more or less the entire fan base (except you) that we need strikers as a priority before we can even consider playing around with our defence! Yes, if Fonte wants one last pay day then that i can also understand, but it has to be right for SFC, as I say letting him go in January is to risky IMHO.
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JDawg added 12:49 - Dec 6
Normally the sales of our talent to not over bother me. It's sad to see them go but that's football and we have a track record of bringing in better players in preparation.
This is different, both our of central defenders are rumoured to be off in January, the lynch pin of our team."Wise football brains" know not to sell in January, we have no decent players already in place and there is no way two new defenders could form a successful partnership and hit the ground running.
If both of them go we won't have a hope of finishing in the top 10, it might be we'll end up fighting to stay up.

Of course these could all be rumours, but not a day goes by without a pundit or a paper saying how one or another club must buy VVD. If the club didn't have a reputation for flogging the family silver to anyone who comes knocking I'm sure these rumours would not be so persistent. I don't see that Burnley defender being pimped to every club!

It's not looking quite so rosie anymore.
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dirk_doone added 13:19 - Dec 6
"Suggesting replacement already lined up!" Leave this tripe to Les's PR team, Nick. Nobody else believes it.

The best central defenders in the world are in their 30s. It's a position where experience is paramount. Real Madrid's first choice is Pepe, who is is 33, Barcelona's is Gerard Piqué who'll be 30 in February while Man City's is Vincent Kompany, who is 30. Mourinho understandably wants Fonte at Old Trafford in the role John Terrry filled at Chelsea. Young central defenders, like Stones and Smalling, are too erratic and unreliable. I'm not sure that Everton are a big enough club to get a top class experienced central defender like Fonte. He won a European Championship winner's medal this year. Everton don't usually get players that good from a rival Premier League club.

As for any true Saints fans who are happy to see him sold, they are probably the same idiots who didn't rate Mane and Wanyama and were happy to see them sold too. Meanwhile in the real world, they are currently the players of the season so far at 2 clubs well above us in the league.


1

stmichael added 13:20 - Dec 6
Nick are you employed by the club or are you saying it as you see it?
Either way your articles increasingly lack credibility as the responses indicate.
Saints will do what they did in the summer which is cash in and hope that either they can get a cut price replacement or preferably from their point of view hope that Yoshida or Gardos step up to the plate.
As I have previously said we cannot keep on getting lucky and huge cracks are now starting to appear.
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halftimeorange added 13:39 - Dec 6
Personally speaking, I think Jose is slightly past his best and we have a ready-made replacement in McQueen who has just signed a long-term deal so that's one January rumour already quashed. Let Jose have his pay-day, he owes us nothing. Move VVD over one place and make him captain. We do, however, need another goal scorer.
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pintsizedsaint added 13:50 - Dec 6
Woah there! We all seem to be getting a little bit heated and taking it out on Nick!

I have said here that SFC do need to think carefully now about how they manage this ‘selling club’ tag/craze. However, we have to be mindful that, with football, there are always different perspectives:

1. We are fans, supporters of the club. We don’t know how to run one – and we don’t know what is really going on behind the scenes. We would love all our greatest players to stay and get upset when they do, but then we expect SFC to do the same to other clubs in return. We are upset that the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool etc. buy our players even though we know that they are far bigger and more prestigious (and pay more money) than we are. But we are blindsighted by that – because we are fans. And we always want/expect more – which isn’t helped by the fact that SFC has continuously succeeded ever since the club was taken over.

2. SFC are trying to run a club sensibly. They do know how to run one in this way given the unending success I describe above. Sometimes that means they have to do things that fans don’t like. They probably don’t do it to annoy – but to ensure the club is stronger.

They do know what’s going on with their players (and agents) and have to negotiate that carefully. Agents are loathed, but SFC (like all other clubs) have to deal with them. In addition, SFC have always been clear that their philosophy is that if players are not ‘on the bus’ then fine, and we will look to move on for a profit. A profit that can be fed back into the club.

3. Football is a million miles away from how it used to be. The likes of Le God are yesteryear. Fonte may kiss the badge and point to his longevity with the club but players are looking to further their careers and ultimately get as much cash as they can from what is a highly competitive industry that is limited by age and can be ended as quickly as the snap from a broken leg. And that’s where agents ply their trade.

So, as I see it, Fonte is club captain and a stalwart of SFC. He’s been with us through thick and thin. But he’s now coming to the twilight of his career. SFC would most likely love to see him end his career with us, but probably see the current end date of his contract as a sensible timeframe given his age.

Which is why SFC offered Fonte an improved pay deal, but not an extension. Us Fans may wince at that, but from SFC’s point of view that’s sensible. Fonte has said it was ‘within his rights’ to refuse that.

Fonte is also smelling green. He’s won the Euros and changed agents. His agent is now willing to play hard ball to get the best deal for his client. Either Man U court Fonte or the other way round – doesn’t matter. It’s designed to see one of two outcomes: SFC offer more money/longer contract or Man Utd actually do see the sense in it and offer Fonte a fairytale (and lucrative) end to his career.

But SFC are not going to be cowed into that. They are being consistent in that they do not want to extend a contract (on bigger salary) just on sentiment and the fact Fonte won the Euros. Is that really unreasonable? As a fan, I’d love Fonte to stay, but equally I hold dear the principle that “no player is bigger than the club”.

Yet, as fans, we continue to hold on to the old days of club loyalty – players playing for the love of the game and clubs making decisions that are more popular than business-logical. Sorry – but that’s gone now.

If he goes in January, I suspect SFC have a plan. They have done every year to date for as long as the mind can remember. I’ll carry on being a fan. But I’ll carry on being a realist too.
4

BoondockSaint added 14:39 - Dec 6
I've said many times. Fonte has been the rock of the club and I would like him to be manager some day.

However, it makes great sense for Jose to want him : Unlike Terry, he leads by example on and off the pitch, helps new players settle and mentors the younger ones. Being Portuguese, he would be a great intermediary between the players and Jose, or vice versa.

But if he goes that leaves a huge void in that leadership role at Southampton, which will hurt the Saints off the pitch.

The headline should read "Suggesting there is a cheap replacement lined up...if any"

Les Reed is blackening his image all by himself.

I am starting to hope the new Chinese investors bring Cortese back, just so Nick stop being a Stepford Fan.
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SaintStu7 added 14:50 - Dec 6
At last a sensible well informed post rather than the whinging and moaning from most. People haven't a clue what's going on at the club. The club would want to keep Fonte and he is already a rich man. Makes no sense to sell for the club for reasons previously stated. The player and agent are the only ones forcing a move and the club have to deal with this in the best interests of the club. Throwing money at players every time they think they can get more elsewhere can never be good for anyone long term, fans included.
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SaintStu7 added 14:53 - Dec 6
Sensible post from pintsizedsaint by the way. Not the other whingers
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warrens76 added 15:56 - Dec 6
steve 73..declare a public holiday when VVD is sold..priceless.

For me any club that tries to buy all it's success unless it has an über income is stupid, equally any club that can afford to keep a quality team together and add to it but thinks only in terms of 'instant' profit is just as stupid...

Why can the board not mix n match..instead of having a black summer sale every 8loody year.
1

andywelsh added 16:04 - Dec 6
Agree entirely with pintsizedsaint and SaintStu7. The club is being run as a self sustaining business which has also led to promotion from League one and increasingly high positioning in the Premier League. This season we are in the semi finals of the League Cup for the first time since the 1980's and are in pole position to go further in Europe than ever before. Added to that we continue to produce home grown talent and find room for them in the team rather than halting their progress by buying in foreign replacements. That this is not enough for the majority of posters on here is frankly incredible and slagging Nick and others off for pointing it out, equally disappointing. We all support the same club and while differences of opinion are valid and inevitable the venom with which the neggies talk about Les Reed is astonishing when you consider how far the club has come and what a key role he has had to play in this.
3

SaintBrock added 17:48 - Dec 6
steve 73 if I could give you 60 likes for your post I would. Nailed right on.

We cannot under any circumstances allow Jose Fonte to leave in January, next summer nor the summer after that.

I just hope that Puel will play him in Thursday and put all this scuttlebutt trash to bed once and for all. On the other I doubt he has the guts to challenge his boss openly.
1

SaintPaulVW added 20:24 - Dec 6
Selling mid season seems a bit odd unless a replacement is pretty much nailed on. Hopefully not Sakho. In any case he's going to go soon and if he won't sign a new deal then perhaps it will be in January,

Who can really blame him with the service he's given us. It's a short precarious career and just like Pelle, he probably wants one last big payday for his family following his Euro success . I hope we all part on good terms.

At least we have Nick's favourite Yoshi fully up to speed!
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abingdonsaint added 20:35 - Dec 6
Excellent piece by 'pint sized'. Always makes me laugh when people have a go at Les Reed when he is one of the main reasons for our recent success. All those moaning about selling our better players need to explain what they would do differently. Our financial strength is dwarfed by the biggest clubs, and along with FFP and Bosman, we literally cannot compete in salary terms. These restrictions will remain even if the Chinese take over, so get used to it! All we can do is maximise income then replace wisely, which we have done consistently. The alternative is to make players see out their contracts then leave on a free. Great business!!
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pintsizedsaint added 21:03 - Dec 6
I'm not sure if the reality of this situation is fully understood, judging by some of these comments. It's quite simple:

- 2010-Summer 2016: Fonte is a stalwart for the club: from League one to Premier league. Lots of plaudits but nothing major in terms of other clubs in for him.

- Euro 2016: whilst not in the first XI to begin with, fate sees Fonte get his chance and performs well to earn a Euro win.

- SFC offer him an a vastly improved wage on same contract. He bulks at that. Man Utd don't table an offer, but Fonte says that "...to be a Man Utd player is a big difference" and gives vague assurances that he will/wont go.

- SFC say no. £9m offer comes in from Everton, but it is rejected. Man Utd never make an offer. Fonte and his agent ramp up pressure to get SFC to offer more money/longer contract - but SFC say no to longer terms.

- Summer comes and goes. Fonte shuts up, but clearly is refusing to sign the new deal (he says it was never there). Puel doesnt play him in the Europa. Saints and Fonte are sticking to their positions.

- Lo an behold, with a few weeks before the Jan window opens, all of a sudden Fonte goes public again. Clearly nothing has changed and SFC are now saying "go on then, if we get good money you can go."

So Fonte could sign a vastly improved deal, but wants more. Saints are sticking to a policy of only paying for what they think is added value. Nothing i see here is outside the realms of what normally goes on in a football club.
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pintsizedsaint added 21:04 - Dec 6
I'm not sure if the reality of this situation is fully understood, judging by some of these comments. It's quite simple:

- 2010-Summer 2016: Fonte is a stalwart for the club: from League one to Premier league. Lots of plaudits but nothing major in terms of other clubs in for him.

- Euro 2016: whilst not in the first XI to begin with, fate sees Fonte get his chance and performs well to earn a Euro win.

- SFC offer him an a vastly improved wage on same contract. He bulks at that. Man Utd don't table an offer, but Fonte says that "...to be a Man Utd player is a big difference" and gives vague assurances that he will/wont go.

- SFC say no. £9m offer comes in from Everton, but it is rejected. Man Utd never make an offer. Fonte and his agent ramp up pressure to get SFC to offer more money/longer contract - but SFC say no to longer terms.

- Summer comes and goes. Fonte shuts up, but clearly is refusing to sign the new deal (he says it was never there). Puel doesnt play him in the Europa. Saints and Fonte are sticking to their positions.

- Lo an behold, with a few weeks before the Jan window opens, all of a sudden Fonte goes public again. Clearly nothing has changed and SFC are now saying "go on then, if we get good money you can go."

So Fonte could sign a vastly improved deal, but wants more. Saints are sticking to a policy of only paying for what they think is added value. Nothing i see here is outside the realms of what normally goes on in a football club.
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Stripe added 06:33 - Dec 7
All this can be kept in house - so if he comes out and talks to the press then he is agitating for more money or a move. Move him out and move on.
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Lazz added 09:27 - Dec 7
FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-EVERTON
According to Dutch newspaper ​De Telegraaf, both sides are willing to pay the £25m release clause for former Celtic defender van Dijk, who made 34 league appearances during his first season with the Saints.

The 25-year-old has attracted interest from Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, with both Liverpool and City having scouts present at Southampton games over the past two months.

Despite the signings of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi in recent years, City have kept just two Premier League clean sheets so far this season, looking especially vulnerable against the quick counter attack of Chelsea at the weekend during their 3-1 defeat.
I hope this doesn't happen
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JGH added 16:06 - Dec 7
It is not more likely that the change of agent was as a result of discontent (whether justied or not) rather than the catalyst for it.

You made the same presumptions re Koeman which also seemed a very simplistic view point...
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