Arsenal join the race for Jose Fonte

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Even three years ago, if you had told Jose Fonte two of the biggest clubs in the Premier League would be fighting for his signature today, there is no way he would have believed you.

The Southampton defender has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United over the last week or so and the Red Devils were considered the only team to possess a serious interest in signing him.

However, according to ESPN - who also broke the news United had started informal talks with Fonte - it is now believed Arsenal have entered the race to sign the Portuguese international.

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The Gunners' defensive problems have been well documented in recent weeks and were forced to start the opening game of the season against Liverpool with the inexperienced pair of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding at back.

Unsurprisingly, Arsene Wenger's side leaked four goals and succumbed to 4-3 defeat at home, prompting even more pressure being heaped on the manager to sign some reinforcements before the window closes.

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A deal to sign Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi doesn't appear to be making much progress and it would appear Wenger has now diverted his attention to Fonte.

The Southampton captain is one of those rare breeds of player who peak slightly later than most.

After learning his craft in the lower divisions of English football with Crystal Palace and then the Saints, Fonte is now well accustomed to the rigours of the Premier League and his consistency has won him plenty of supporters in the last few years.

Considering Mustafi could cost the Gunners as much as £30 million, Fonte would prove a much cheaper alternative as the same ESPN article claims it may only require a bid of £10m to lure the Portuguese international away from St Mary's.

Southampton v Athletic Club Bilbao - Pre-Season Friendly

While Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista are out with injuries and Laurent Koscielny is still on his way back to match fitness, Fonte might be the perfect short-term signing to guide the team's young guns through a tricky start to the season.

The Gunners face defending champions Leicester this weekend and the supporters will be desperate to see an improved defensive performance to stand any chance of picking up their first points of the campaign.

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Jose Fonte
Per Mertesacker
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Manchester United

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