Southampton have pulled off a transfer coup by signing central defender Jose Fonte from Championship side Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old has been a key player for Neil Warnock`s side since signing in July 2007 but has made the move down to League One amid concerns over Palace`s finances. He has penned a contract that will keep him at St Mary`s until 2013.

Fonte said: "I was happy at Crystal Palace and I only have good memories of my time there but I have made a decision that I am very happy with."

He added: "This might seem like a step back but it may be two steps forward and that`s how I see it.

"I want to be in the Premier League as soon as I can and this could be the fastest way to get there.

"Southampton has the stability which Crystal Palace does not have at the moment and I made this decision because the situation at Palace is delicate and I have to think about my future."

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