Manchester United boss José Mourinho has already recruited the four key signings he feels his squad needs in order to add strength in depth for the new season.
Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba have all arrived in recent months, and The Sun is now reporting that José Fonte of Southampton could be the next player to land at Old Trafford with Mourinho willing to part with Marcos Rojo in order to complete the deal.
Fonte, at 32, would bring some much needed experience to a young back four. An injury to Chris Smalling as well as a suspension for the first game of the Premier League season has led to new recruit Bailly getting his chance in the first team much earlier than anticipated.
Bailly, however, has won the Man of the Match award on both of his outings so far this season, excelling alongside Daley Blind – all of which means the Portuguese would have a battle on his hands, along with Smalling, in trying to dislodge a partnership that has been impressive thus far.
As a result, Rojo – along with Phil Jones – have fallen even further down the pecking order, with Mourinho hoping the possibility of first team football might persuade the Argentine to join Southampton as Fonte comes the other way.
However, The Sun also reports that Saints boss Claude Puel wants Fonte to remain with the South Coast club.
José Fonte: Only two defenders have completed more passes than Fonte (5544) in the last 5 Premier League seasons
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 17, 2016
Arsenal, too, have also been linked with the defender as they try to ease their defensive crisis, while the chance to play for his fellow countryman in Mourinho may prove too much to resist for Fonte, who may feel that such an opportunity will not come along again.
Either way, Fonte is due at Old Trafford on Friday night as the Saints travel north for the first Friday Night Football match of the season. It remains to be seen though if it is the first of many appearances at the stadium this season.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena