Well West Ham United have had their winter window dominated by the negativity of the whole Dimitri Payet wantaway scenario which has hardly been an affair which has attracted players to joining West Ham to play at the new London City Stadium. However, despite this the powers that be at West Ham including the ever popular manager Slaven Bilic have pulled off a pretty major coup by signing the greatly in-demand EURO 2016 winner for Portugal – centre-back Jose Fonte from Southampton.
Many clubs have shown serious interest in the solid, dependable and very experienced defender with Manchester United reportedly very interested and Liverpool also thought to seriously covet the player. West Ham however won out as they secured Fonte, who submitted a transfer request earlier in the transfer window, for an initial fee of £8 million which could grow to £12 million depending on add-ons and performance based payments. Fonte has signed a two-and-a-half year deal at London Stadium, and there is the option of a further 12 months.
Despite West Ham being identified as being Fonte’s preferred destination you never know what will happen when clubs like United and Liverpool get involved in a transfer but Jose Fonte joining the Hammers is certainly a great piece of business as the Portuguese defender certainly looks to have a few more years left in him playing at the top level.
As reported by Goal.com Fonte had this to say to West Ham’s official website after revealing that the deal to move to East London and join Slaven Bilic had been completed:
“I signed for West Ham because they are a great club and a very big club. They have a lot of fans and I have known for a number of years how passionate they are,”
“The manager was also a very big influence. I thought that he really wanted me and that he sold me the project and the ambition of the club.
“I also have part of my family living in London and they are big West Ham fans. It just made sense for me at this stage to join West Ham. It is a new challenge and a new beginning and I am looking forward to it.
“With the way that West Ham is going we can only look to be challenging in the top eight.
“I told the manager in conversations that we want to win and we want to win trophies. The ambition is big and we need to aim high.
“West Ham are a massive club and it is an exciting challenge and it should be for everyone. We all need to get together and start working.”
After the Portuguese centre-back signed for the Saints from Crystal Palace in 2010 he was instrumental in leading the South coast club from League One all the way back into the Premier League and as result of his commanding performances was called up to his national team making his international debut in 2014 and going on to win EURO 2016 last summer in France with his native Portugal which was the country’s first major trophy.
This signing will go a long way towards rebuilding Hammers fans’ faith in the transfer policy of the powers-that-be at London Stadium and Jose Fonte will instantly add a wealth of experience and calm to a team that could certainly use those attributes in the second half of the season.