We’re fast approaching the January transfer window, and as a Southampton fan, this is a time of the year that we have grown to fear.
Reports have stated that Southampton captain Jose Fonte has been given the green light for a move away from the South Coast this coming January; but what exactly are the current details of Southampton’s latest transfer saga, and what do I make of it all?
Firstly, let’s take a look at the reports.
The Guardian stated that Fonte has turned down the clubs latest contract offer and is unwilling to commit to an extended stay with Southampton Football Club. However, the Daily Echo has a conflicting report with quotes from the man himself.
“I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Fonte said. “There’s no contract on the table.
“It is what it is, there’s nothing on the table that I didn’t sign. There was nothing there, to be honest.”
He added: “There was in the summer, they offered me a pay rise. They didn’t offer me a new contract.
“They offered me a pay rise which I’m entitled to discuss with my agent and entitled to say no to as well.”
The report from the Daily Echo then goes on to mention how Fonte has become frustrated with Claude Puel, after failing to feature in all five of Southampton’s Europa League fixtures.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” Fonte said. “I want to play every game. I’m fit to play every game. I’m always on the dance floor – I’m always fit.
“I worked really hard last year to play Europa League.
“I worked really hard and obviously I’m disappointed, but I have to accept the decision from the manager and be ready when I am called to play.”
Finally however, reports from Portuguese website MaisFutebol have stated that Southampton are willing to let Fonte leave the club in January, after deciding that they will not offer the captain a contract extension. This same report states that contrary to what some may think, Fonte in fact wants to prolong his stay with Southampton Football Club.
In addition to this, Fonte has also taken to social media to deny the reports that he rejected a contract extension from Southampton FC (as seen in the comments on a fan pages account below).
So, that is a collection of all the important reports regarding Fonte’s current situation, and you can make of it what you wish, but here are my thoughts…
The board of Southampton FC don’t like to be bullied during negotiations. They wish to carry out business in the way that they believe best suits the football club, and therefore, if negotiations begin to swing away from the best interests of the club, they will often cut their interest there.
It’s interesting to note that Southampton FC have now on two occasions offered a financial increase to Fonte’s contract, without offering an extension past his current deal that runs until 2018. Fonte rejected these financial offers and therefore, my thoughts here are simple; Fonte want’s his contract extension to be offered now, whilst Southampton will most likely be wanting to make their offer at the end of this season. The reason being is that with Fonte nearing 33-years-old, offering a long term contract extension is risky business. At this age, performances can suddenly drop off, injuries are more threatening, and fitness naturally decreases too. Look around at other clubs in Europe and you will see that contract offers made to players over 30-years-old, typically become more calculated and risk-free in comparison to younger players. It’s smart business, something that the Southampton board knows plenty about.
If reports are to be believed and Southampton have told Fonte that he can leave this coming January, then I imagine that they have made such comments as a statement to Fonte. Perhaps they are wanting to remind Fonte their beliefs in negotiations and just who is in charge?
For me, its understandable why Southampton may be hesitant to offer a contract extension just yet, but at the same time, I can also understand Fonte’s decision to reject the financial increase on his contract. The reason being here is that Fonte still believes he is a fit, dependable, and high quality defender, so therefore, he wants to hold out for the security of a contract extension. In my view, Fonte’s decision to reject the offer of an increase wage was used as a means to pressure Southampton into offering him a contract extension, and to that I say well bloody played Jose (if of course that is true).
For now however, we must wait. It appears that in this current moment we have no other option but to wait for either one of the two parties to make their move.
In an ideal world, I would love for Jose Fonte to spend the remaining years of his career at our club, with the Portuguese International being appropriately eased out of first team action according to his performances. However, in this current situation, who knows. Nothing is concrete at the minute and there are still countless pages of paperwork to be filled in and filed before any definitive decision has been made.
Regardless of the outcome however, it doesn’t change that Jose Fonte will go down in history as a hero of Southampton Football Club.