Southampton star Jose Fonte urges club to strengthen central defence

Southampton Huddle

The Saints captain is concerned at the squad depth in the middle of defence after Florin Gardos was ruled out with a serious injury.

Southampton captain Jose Fonte has indicated one position he thinks the Saints need to add to this summer, with less than two weeks to go to the start of the season, in comments appearing in the Star.

The 31-year-old is concerned at the squad strength in the central defensive position, with just Japanese international Maya Yoshida and Fonte himself available after Florin Gardos was ruled out until 2016 with a serious knee injury.

It leaves youngsters Jack Stephens and Jordan Turnbull as next in line if there are injuries in that area of the team.

“I know the club is working behind the scenes to get another two or three signings,” Fonte is quoted as telling the Star.

“We still need another centre back to cover or to compete with me and Maya [Yoshida].

“If we can get good quality signings again, I think we’ll be in a great position for this season.”

The Portuguese was part of one of the proudest and meanest defences in the Premier League last season, conceding just 33 goals over the course of the season in 2014/15, only one more than champions and tightest defence Chelsea.

But since May, the Saints have lost several individuals who contributed to that defensive quality, with Nathaniel Clyne joining Liverpool, loan star Toby Alderweireld opting for Spurs, and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin moving to Manchester United.

Arguably, the club need two centre backs at St Mary's before the end of the transfer window, one to replace Alderweireld and one to replace Gardos.

Fonte has said that he is happy with replacements in other areas of the team, even if Southampton are yet to recruit in the middle of the defence.

“We lost Clyney, we got Cedric Soares and Cuco Martina," he said. "We bought good replacements for that position, so I’m happy with that.

“We lost Morgan, we still got Jordy Clasie, who showed in our friendly against Feyenoord that he’s a good player.”

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