Manchester United: Arsenal chase outcast; Fonte decision made; Brazilian's £25 million price-tag
In a shocking move, the Guardian claim that Arsenal may turn to Phil Jones as a solution to their defensive injury crisis, if a deal for Shkodran Mustafi falls apart. It would not be the first time that such a meal has taken place following Danny Welbeck’s move to the Emirates, and Arsene Wenger is desperate to add more options in defence with captain Per Mertesacker out until Christmas at the earliest, and the French boss is known to admire young, English talent like Jones.
For United, the deal may be a gamble. Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he wants to add new faces to his squad in defence to attempt to improve on the inexperience and low quality options currently available to him. Latest reports had suggested that Jones would be remaining at Old Trafford this season after a potential move to Stoke went quiet, but Mourinho is not convinced by the 24-year-old and if there is a lucrative offer incoming from the Gunners, it could just be enough to persuade the Red Devils to part with the former Blackburn defender.
The club have been dealt a blow in this regard though, as the Daily Star report from Southampton manager Claude Puel’s press conference, where he claimed that Jose Fonte has now decided to stay at St. Mary’s, rather than join his compatriot Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford. The French boss explained:
“His work with Southampton is not finished. There are good opportunities in Europe and the Premier League and for me it’s very important to keep Jose. He’s okay with this. He had a good discussion with the director, the chairman and now it’s okay. The fans can be happy because Jose’s staying.”
Mourinho was hoping that Fonte would bring some invaluable experience and leadership to the United backline, having proven himself as a reliable Premier League defender during his stint on the south coast, where he is currently captain of his club. Fonte was believed to have been keen on the deal and would have been a quality addition at a decent price, but Southampton bosses now seem to have convinced the Euro 2016 winner that his future should be with the Saints.
On the other hand, reports in France Football suggest that a move for Monaco right-back Fabinho could be back on after the French club secured qualification for the Champions League group stages with victory over Villarreal in midweek. The Brazilian’s two penalties, one in each leg of the tie, were enough for a 3-1 aggregate victory, and reports claim that Monaco would now be open to negotiations over the 22-year-old.
Having played under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, Fabinho is well known to the boss, and can also provide cover in defensive midfield as well as at full-back. With a price tag of £25 million and Ed Woodward reportedly tightening the purse strings, it seems unlikely that a deal will be agreed before the window slams shut next week, but Mourinho is clearly a fan and may pursue Fabinho as a target in the near future if he can’t get his man in this window.
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