When Jose Mourinho first addressed the media as Manchester United manager, he happily told the assembled journalists that he was seeking four signings in the current transfer window.
At that time, he had already sealed deals for Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic while the club's media arm was preparing to announce the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. As we now know, Paul Pogba was the fourth, and biggest, transfer of them all, but he won't be the last.
The Special One was speaking in a time before he had analysed the squad on the training ground and has since decided that he wants another experienced centre-back to sure up a fragile defence.
A report in the Daily Record recently claimed that Zenit St Petersburg's Ezequiel Garay, Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci and Southampton's Jose Fonte were all on his shortlist. It now appears the Portuguese coach has made his mind up.
According to ESPN, Manchester United began informal talks with Southampton over a deal for Fonte. The 32-year-old has a wealth of experience in the Premier League and showed some of his best form for Portugal in their triumphant Euro 2016 campaign.
Fonte fits the bill
He certainly fits the bill for Mourinho. Not only is he experienced but also a relatively short-term option. He would cover for Bailly when he goes to the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast and should also be able to help the inexperienced star adapt to life in English football.
Most importantly, he would come significantly cheaper and easier than Garay and Bonucci. Indeed, the same report claims Southampton are ready to sell their long-serving star for £8million. Having blown around £150m in transfer fees alone, United shouldn't have a problem meeting it.
Bye, bye Blindy
The arrival of Fonte could spell the end for Daley Blind, who started in defence alongside Bailly in United's opening Premier League match against Bournemouth. The very fact that Mourinho has to use the Dutchman in defence is seen as a prime reason why he is now searching for his fifth signing of the summer.
Marcos Rojo has also been linked with an exit while Fonte's arrival could also see Phil Jones leave albeit on a temporary basis. The 24-year-old has struggled with a series of bad injuries throughout his time at Old Trafford and has appeared unable to match his previous form in pre-season.
A loan deal seems likely and Hull City had been linked with such a move but that was prior to Steve Bruce's shock exit.
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