Jose Fonte is perfect for Liverpool - it's just a year too late...

The Southampton defender would bring the requisite leadership at the back - but Liverpool's scouts should have recognised that a year ago.

Liverpool have been linked with a summer swoop for Southampton captain Jose Fonte, according to the Daily Mirror.

And it could just be the perfect signing. The Portuguese is experienced, would provide something desperately lacking at Anfield (leadership at the back) and is many people's choice for Southampton's Player of the Year - as well as someone who should have been a member of the Premier League's team of the season in the opinion of a number of observers.

The problem, however, is that Fonte would have been a superb signing a year ago. Now, it's as though Liverpool aren't looking forward - just back.

 Premier League TacklesInterceptionsClearancesHeadersMinutes Played
Jose Fonte 1.51 3.14 5.46 1.66 3,150
Dejan Lovren 1.32 1.84 7.8 3.6 1,946
Mamadou Sakho 1.27 1.67 5.73 2.4 1,328
Kolo Touré 1.09 0.73 4.82 1.64 665
Martin Skrtel 0.97 1.71 9.65 3.39 2,790

As Opta stats show, the Southampton man averages more tackles per game than any Liverpool defender this term, while trumping them all significantly in the interceptions department.

Fonte is out-cleared, so to speak, by Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel, while he doesn't prove too effective in the air. How good he is on the ground, though, is nonetheless perfect for Liverpool (his skillset could help form a strong partnership with the contrasting Martin Skrtel or Mamadou Sakho). Southampton supporters will no doubt want him to stay at St Mary's.

For the Reds, of course, the 31-year-old could still be the perfect signing. It's just a shame that, last summer, he could have been the man to turn to instead of the expensive failure that Lovren turned out to be.

Fonte, one would expect, would be relied upon to get the best out of the Croat, just like he did with the Saints. That, however, would be signing the experienced Portuguese for all the wrong reasons - as opposed to snapping him up last summer ahead of what was a superb season of football from the centre-back.

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