Manchester United favourites to sign defender from Premier League rival

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Manchester United are the bookmakers favourites to sign Southampton captain Jose Fonte after the central defender handed in a transfer request.

Jose Mourinho’s side have been heavily linked with a move for the 33-year-old to bolster his defensive options at Old Trafford, and a move now looks likely after the Portuguese star told Saints Executive director Les Reed that he wishes to leave St Mary’s.

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Reed said: “Yes. He has formally asked for a transfer.

“He mooted this earlier in the summer when he rejected the original offer to improve his contract and has repeated it since. In doing so he has declined the opportunity to both improve and extend his contract.

“Those are the facts on the table. The other fact is that we haven’t had enquiries for him, so will he leave or will he not leave? I don’t know.

“He certainly won’t leave on the basis that he can just go.

“We would not consider releasing him unless there was a decent transfer fee and secondly that we were in a position to replace him. If anybody comes along on the last day of the transfer window it’s not going to happen.

“He’s aware of all that and he has been very professional. He has played well when he’s played, and he is our captain, and if he remains at the club, which I would say is a strong possibility, then we would expect him to play the second half of the season in that manner right the way through.

“Jose is obviously 33 years of age, and maybe feels there is a different opportunity for him out there to be able to finish his career with a bumper contract. He has been a great servant to the club and we respect that.

“It is what it is and we will wait and see if anything transpires.”

Bookmakers have Manchester United as the even-money favourites to sign Jose Fonte this January transfer window, with Everton available at 9/2 and Arsenal priced-up at 8/1.

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