Southampton manager Claude Puel has reaffirmed his intention to keep Jose Fonte at the club. The Saints captain has been linked with a move to Arsenal and Manchester United in recent weeks, but Puel insists all is "okay" between Fonte and the Saints.
Puel revealed the reported United target has spoken to the Southampton hierarchy about his future. And while he remained tight-lipped about the precise nature of those discussions, the manager suggested he will be staying on the south coast.
"Jose Fonte is an important player for the team and for the fans. They like Jose, they like his personality," Puel said of Fonte, according to the BBC. "For me it's very important to keep Jose Fonte. He had a good discussion with the director and chairman and all is okay. It was important to listen to Jose to understand his position."
United boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen to recruit Fonte to add some much-needed experience to his defence. The 32-year-old centre-back would provide competition for the likes of Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and new signing Eric Bailly at United.
Meanwhile, Puel has backed Southampton's Fraser Forster to cope with the pressure of being England's number-one goalkeeper, should he leapfrog Joe Hart and Jack Butland in the pecking order. Forster is likely to be included in Sam Allardyce's eagerly-awaited first squad as England manager.
"For me Fraser Forster is a very good goalkeeper with experience and maturity. He has all the qualities to answer the challenge of the national team," Puel said. "It's not a problem for him. Every day to have a goalkeeper in the team with his qualities, it's not a problem for Fraser."