Southampton boss rules out Jose Fonte sale amid Everton links

Manchester City's Wilfried Bony and Raheem Sterling in action with Southampton's Jose Fonte

Southampton’s Jose Fonte has been linked with a move to Everton.

Portugal's Jose Fonte celebrates at the end of the game

Southampton boss Claude Puel has ruled out selling defender Jose Fonte amid plenty of speculation linking the player with a move to Everton, the Daily Mail report.

The report in the Daily Mail accredits Everton with a strong interest in the defender as newly-appointed boss Ronald Koeman looks to strengthen his back line following the sale of John Stones.

The Toffees had one of the leakiest defences in the Premier League last term, while Koeman’s former club Southampton had a solid defensive record with skipper Fonte a key member of the first-team XI.

England's Daniel Sturridge in action with Portugal's Jose Fonte

The Saints have already lost Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle this summer, but Puel is adamant that his skipper will remain at St. Mary’s as he comments on the latest transfer news.

“For the club and for Southampton, it’s important for Jose to stay. He’s a good player. I don’t think there’s a possibility for Jose to leave us. He’s very important for the team,” Puel told the Daily Mail.

“When I see him on the training ground, he is concentrated and a good professional. Many clubs have an interest in our players. It’s normal.”

Portugal's Jose Fonte applauds the fans at the end of the matchPortugal's Jose Fonte applauds the fans at the end of the match

Fonte, 32, joined Southampton from Crystal Palace in 2010 while the Saints were in League One and has since gone on to make more than 250 appearances for the club in all competitions.

While not quite having the talent as former teammates Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, Morgan Schneiderlin, Wanyama and Pelle etc., Fonte is arguably just as important for the Saints.

New Everton boss Koeman has somewhat surprisingly avoided the temptation to raid his former club so far this summer.

Manchester City's Wilfried Bony and Raheem Sterling in action with Southampton's Jose Fonte

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