Report: Manchester United open talks to sign Southampton star Jose Fonte, bid may arrive this week

Jose Fonte celebrates after scoring the third goal for Southampton

Manchester United are reportedly keen on Southampton's Jose Fonte.

Jose Fonte celebrates after scoring the third goal for SouthamptonJose Fonte celebrates after scoring for Southampton

According to ESPN, Manchester United have opened 'informal' talks with Southampton about a possible deal for centre back Jose Fonte.

Big-name signings such as Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have grabbed the headlines for United this summer, but new manager Jose Mourinho did land a new defender in Ivorian international Eric Bailly.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney in action with Southampton's Jose FonteManchester United's Wayne Rooney in action with Southampton's Jose Fonte

An athletically-gifted but raw defender, Bailly looks to be one for the future, and Mourinho appears to be making a move to land a proven, veteran centre back who can help Bailly grow and develop over the coming years.

ESPN claim that United are looking to sign Southampton's Jose Fonte before the transfer deadline this month, and have opened talks with the Saints in the hope of securing a deal.

Manchester City's Frank Lampard in action with Southampton's Jose FonteFrank Lampard in action with Southampton's Jose Fonte

Fonte, 32, joined Southampton from Crystal Palace back in January 2010, and has since racked up more than 250 appearances for the club, whilst even becoming club captain in the summer of 2014.

The Portuguese international, who played a key role in his country's Euro 2016 success, has been one of the most dependable and consistent Premier League defenders since Southampton's promotion in 2012, and it's no surprise that his compatriot Mourinho would want him at Old Trafford.

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

Fonte has had a whole host of partners at centre back, including Dejan Lovren, Toby Alderweireld and now Virgil van Dijk, with each of them impressing alongside the talismanic, calming presence of Fonte.

It's believed that United are expected to make a bid for Fonte this week, possibly in the region of £8m – and whilst Mourinho does have the likes of Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind in his ranks, adding a wily veteran like Fonte could not only solidify United's defence now, but also help develop Bailly for the future.

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