Southampton supporters have been drowning their sorrows in recent times after seeing their team suffer yet another Premier League defeat at the weekend.
Mark Hughes’ men went into their clash with bottom side Fulham having won just one of their previous 12 league games, but having shown some signs of recovery in recent weeks with three draws in their preceding four matches. Yet the Saints were unable to pick up a second league success of the campaign in going down 3-2 to Claudio Ranieri’s Cottagers, with a brace from Aleksandar Mitrovic as well as an Andre Schurrle strike inspiring the hosts to a much-needed three points.
Thus, there have been many disappointed and angry Southampton fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are wondering what the future holds for their side given they have slipped into the relegation zone.
Long gone are the times in which the Saints were an established Premier League team who finished in the top half of the division for four straight seasons, with former captain Jose Fonte one of the main men in helping the club win promotion from the Championship, and then make headway in the top-flight.
As such, the decision to sell him to West Ham back in January 2017 for £8.28 million (as per Transfermarkt) seemed a strange and ultimately questionable one, but with his contract up at the end of that season, and the 33-year-old to embark on a testing time at the London Stadium, the Saints hierarchy certainly made the right call sanctioning his exit.
Ultimately, there is little doubting that the centre back played an integral part in Southampton’s rise up the Football League, arriving at St Mary’s back in January 2010 with the club languishing in League One, only to help them win promotion to the second tier little over 18 months later.
He then captained them to back-to-back promotions the season after to return to the promised land, where the Saints have been ever since to varying degrees of success, earning four successive top ten finishes between 2013 and 2017, only for things to go awry last time round.
Remarkably, Fonte more than held his own in the Premier League despite just a few years previous playing his trade in League One, with the Portugal international the bedrock of the backline between 2013 and 2016 in particular in missing just four league games in three seasons.
Thus, when Southampton sold him to West Ham for £8.28 million, thus making a £7.02 million profit on the defender having signed him from Crystal Palace for just £1.26 million (as per Transfermarkt) in 2010, it was questioned by many around the country – but the Saints have been proven right.
Fonte seriously struggled to make any meaningful impact at West Ham, playing just 24 times for the East London club before making the move to China with Dalian Yifang little over a year on from leaving Southampton, where he spent only a few months before signing for French side Lille, where he is currently playing his football.
Thus, things have gone somewhat downhill for the Portuguese ace signing leaving the Saints, and at the age of 34 now and very much entering the twilight of his career, the £7.02 million profit the South Coast outfit made on the defender is looking more and more like a masterstroke.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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