That’s according to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian, who has reported the Portuguese wants to add an experienced operator at the back to his squad to complement the likes of Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling. It’s stated Mourinho believes Fonte would help the Ivorian's development in particular.
Jackson added that Fonte “has been offered a new deal by Saints but has yet to agree terms.” The Portugal international lined up against the Red Devils on Friday night, although he struggled to contain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted twice in a 2-0 win.
Even so, the Southampton man has fashioned a reputation as one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League. Here’s a look at what Fonte would bring to the base of the Red Devils team should United get him on board, per Squawka Football:
It’s easy to see why Mourinho would like to add Fonte. The Portuguese has always built teams that have experienced foundations, and the 32-year-old is someone who's proved himself at the highest level regularly. Indeed, starring in Portugal’s UEFA European Championship triumph this summer, the Saints man raised his game again.
Bailly has been exceptional in the early stages of his United career, although a rough patch is inevitable for a young defender. Having Fonte to call upon in reserve, as well as Smalling and Daley Blind, would be a major boost to the United boss and his quest to bring the Premier League trophy back to Old Trafford in his debut term.
Phil Jones Linked with Stoke City
Another centre-back coming in at Old Trafford would be bad news for Manchester United defender Phil Jones, who has been linked with Stoke City.
According to Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, Potters boss Mark Hughes was coy when he was quizzed on the prospect of moving for the England international, who has fallen down the pecking order in recent seasons with the Red Devils.
Jones was considered to be one of English football’s brightest young talents when he signed for United from Blackburn Rovers in 2011. But after a bright start to life at the club, a loss of form, inconsistency in position and a succession of niggling injuries have prevented the 24-year-old from realising his potential.
With first-team chances looking slim, a move is surely on the cards for Jones. Sports journalist Liam Canning is surprised he remains a United player at this juncture:
Provided he could stay fit and was handed a key role with a new team, the defender could still become a fine Premier League defender. Jones is committed, dynamic and physical in his duties at the back; the erraticism he’s shown at times will only yield when he gets a consistent run of games.
That’s not going to happen at United in the short term, especially if Fonte was to come in.
At Stoke, in a potential partnership with Ryan Shawcross, Jones could thrive. The Bet365 Stadium club are seeking to push up the Premier League table after some mid-table finishes; they’d benefit from having a versatile defender with something to prove on their books.