Summer of 2017, Jose Fonte left Southampton after seven successful years in a surprise move especially considering his individual success with Portugal at Euro 2016 which sparked a huge amount of interest in his signatures and led to negotiations for an improved contract at St. Mary’s.
However, the club could not find a common ground with Fonte, and he left for West Ham three years back.
Fonte explained his Southampton exit speaking to BBC Radio Solent: “They released a transfer request which I did not send. When they did that, they left me with no alternative and told me that I had to leave.
“What I was asking for (in contract) wouldn’t have even put me in the top three earners at the club. I wasn’t asking for the world – I was just asking what I thought was fair for me.”
Jose Fonte made 286 appearances for Southampton since joining from Crystal Palace in 2010 for £1.2 million. There were many eyebrows raised when Southampton brought him to Hampshire, as they were plying their trade in League One whilst Palace were in the Championship, yet Fonte’s choice to sign for Southampton paide off hugely.
The Portuguese was part of successive promotions from the third-tier to the Premier League where his leadership & presence from the back played a pivotal role for the Saints. And they would only learn about their foolishness to let him leave after it was too late.
Southampton were not willing to give him a significant increase in his payday probably due to his thirty-three age at that point.
Then manager Claude Puel did not support Fonte and Director of Football Les Reed just became burdensome to deal with, and at a point when they needed him as a leader – they dropped him.
And on the contrary his high wage demands were on back of a highly successful Euros with top clubs watching him as a short term solution.
But in the end the sour relationship shattered as Fonte was forced into a move to West Ham. Yes, Jose was in the wrong side of his thirties but he is thirty-six and still plays regularly for Lille in the Ligue 1.