Manchester United target Jose Fonte has completed an £8m ($9.9m) move to West Ham United on a two-and-a-half year deal from Southampton in the ongoing January transfer window.

The Portuguese defender has been heavily linked with a move away from the Saints with reports suggesting he handed in a transfer request amid interest from various clubs in England. The Red Devils and Liverpool were favourite but Fonte chose to move to London and admitted that a conversation with Slaven Bilic convinced him to chose the Hammers over other interested suitors.

"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," Fonte told West Ham's official site.

"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," he explained.

The 33-year-old, who won the European Championship with Portugal last summer, was a mainstay in Claude Puel's back four at St Mary's but chose to move after the club refused to hand him a new contract beyond the current season. Fonte's capture is a big coup for West Ham, who have looked vulnerable in defence this season, as he was linked strongly with a move to Liverpool and United.

The Portugal international, who has been with the Saints since 2010, is aware that a top eight finish is the best hope for West Ham this season owing to their difficult start, but has made it clear that he joined the Hammers to challenge for trophies and finish higher up in the Premier League table.

"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," the Euro 2016 winner added.

Jose Fonte
Euro 2016 winner Jose Fonte has completed his transfer from Southampton to West Ham United on a two-an-a-half year deal Getty