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Jose Fonte is the target..

Manchester United ready to make transfer deadline signing

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Manchester United are prepared to wait until the final day of the transfer window to make a move for Southampton defender Jose Fonte, who is widely believed to be Jose Mourinho's final transfer target.

With Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones both being linked with a move away from Old Trafford, Mourinho was hoping to replace them with an experienced Premier League defender. With four years in the top flight at St Mary's, Fonte meets the criteria.

There are also other reasons why Mourinho wants the centre-back. Fonte appeared to be at the peak of his powers during Portugal's triumphant Euro 2016 campaign and, at 32, would be the short-term solution the Special One is after.

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However, Southampton are less than willing to sell and have instead offered Fonte a new contract. His current deal runs until 2018 and the new contract won't extend his stay but will see his wages increase. That offer is on the table but there is little indication as to whether he will sign it.

The Red Devils could get a deal across the line with a £12m offer but even for a club with United's resources, that asking price is proving too rich. Mourinho, who was so keen to get his transfer business early, is willing to wait until the final moments to complete his fifth deal.

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Mourinho has spent just under £150m to bring Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly to the club but is asking for just a pinch more to complete his squad.

Ideal, not essential

But there is a good chance that a deal will never materialise. Mourinho has been left surprised with the recent performances of both Bailly and Daley Blind while Chris Smalling is set to return from injury in the near future.

Should they continue with their fine form, Mourinho may opt to stick with what he has and allow either Rojo or Jones to stay as the club's fourth-choice centre-back. Matteo Darmian has also been linked with a return to Serie A.

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Jones set to stay

Jones appears the most likely to stay beyond the transfer window despite enquiries from both Stoke City and Arsenal. Mourinho, a rival of Arsene Wenger, has already ruled out doing business with the Gunners while Stoke are yet to formalise their interest.

The 24-year-old has struggled with injury for much of his Manchester United career and has looked out of sorts in recent appearances. However, Mourinho has told him that he still has a future at the club, although a loan deal is still possible.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Jose Fonte
Football
Premier League
Ryan Giggs
Southampton
Jose Mourinho

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