Do Manchester United really need Jose Fonte?

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho before the match

We look at whether or not Manchester United and Jose Mourinho, may be tempted into making a move for Southampton's Jose Fonte.

 

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

After reports emerged this week that Manchester United are said to be lining up Jose Fonte as a potential last-minute transfer target, fans all around the country are already beginning to debate where he’d fit in at the Theatre of Dreams.

Despite already having spent big this window to secure Ivorian defender Eric Bailly, Mourinho is said to be looking for further defensive reinforcements in order to provide additional competition within his squad.

Fonte would certainly bring experience and authority to United, having both captained current club Southampton for the previous two years, as well as having helped lead his native Portugal to the Euro 2016 title this summer.

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

With this experience however, would come the trade-off that any potential deal would only represent a short-term solution to United’s defensive issues – what with Fonte turning 33 in December.

If he were to be used in a rotational, or even backup role, then this issue of declining pace and fitness might be lessened by a much lower level of game time throughout this season.

If this is assumed to be the case however, then many are already beginning to question whether signing Fonte would actually be worth Mourinho’s and United’s time.

With Chris Smalling set to return from suspension, and Eric Bailly and Daley Blind having both already demonstrated their defensive capabilities this season, United already possess three top-class centre backs capable of filling Mourinho’s two defensive positions.

Manchester United's Timothy Fosu Mensah

Combine this with the fact that United also have Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo at the club – although admittedly the latter has been heavily linked with a move away – both of whom play predominantly as a centre back, and United seem to be fairly well stocked in terms of defensive cover.

United also have both Matteo Darmian and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who, although normally more accustomed to playing out wide as full backs, are also both capable of playing in a central role.

Both Darmian and Fosu-Mensah also crucially fit into the so-called ‘Mourinho template’ in term of defensive players – with both standing at over six foot, possessing pace in abundance, and maintaining a calm head both on the ball and whilst defending.

Considering all of the afore-mentioned options available to Mourinho, it certainly seems like United are in no dire-need to bring in further defensive reinforcements this window.

If one, or even two, of said players were to leave this window however, then Mourinho may just decide to stick with experience over versatility, and sign a man who brings guaranteed Premier League knowledge with him in abundance.

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