Report: Arsenal to challenge Manchester United for Jose Fonte

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With talks stalling regarding Shkodran Mustafi, and Arsenal hoping for a cheaper alternative as they also target a striker, the Gunners have made an approach for Southampton defender Jose Fonte, according to an ESPN report.

The Portuguese international has been reportedly in Manchester United’s sights for months, with Jose Mourinho aware that the back line is the weakness of his new-look side.

It’s no surprise Fonte is a popular target. At 32 years old, his age makes him a good, cheap short-term stopgap for a club like Arsenal needing a Champions League quality player. He’s proven his abilities as a top Premier League defender for the past three years, removing the risk of purchasing a player from a foreign league.

His age would also mean Southampton could be persuaded to sell now, taking the money with Fonte’s value the highest it likely will reach.

The competition could be great for the Saints. With just one interested party, United could dictate the price, especially if Fonte wanted to leave. However, with Arsenal needing a new defender as soon as possible, a bidding war could ensue. Previous reports tabbed Fonte’s price at around $13 million, and Everton has also expressed interest.