On 20 January 2017, West Ham United completed the signing of Jose Fonte from Southampton as they looked to improve their defence.
The Hammers are believed to have splashed out a fee of £8million to bring the Portugal international defender to the London Stadium, per the club’s official Twitter feed.
Having excelled on the south coast for The Saints and his country, with whom he helped win the 2016 European Championships, fans were excited by the prospect of having the then-33-year-old at the club and took to Twitter to provide their reactions.
— Chris⚒️ (@whufcchris_) 20 January 2017
absolutely quality signing
— Callum (@CallumFitzer__) January 20, 2017
— JL ⚒ (@JakeLoadman) 20 January 2017
The signing of Fonte is a very good one. Lots of experience, captain material and more needed than people realise at this point. COYI
— ExWHUemployee (@ExWHUemployee) January 20, 2017
Actually didn’t think for a second we’d get Fonte !
— Stevie “WHU” Sizzle (@TheSullis) 20 January 2017
Fantastic player with bags of experience. #quality
— Claret and Blue (@SuperSlavsIrons) January 21, 2017
great signing! #COYI
— Dave Coles (@DjDaveCee) January 21, 2017
A solid transfer deal David, good business in my eyes Jose will be a good signing for us #solid
— Russ Evans (@RussJEvans) January 21, 2017
Prior to his move back to the capital, having played for Crystal Palace once before, Fonte had an excellent career within the Premier League and fans were right to believe he was a ‘quality’ addition.
The Portugal international had played 154 times in the top-flight for Southampton, helping his side to keep 51 clean sheets, whilst he also proved to be useful in attack, as he bagged seven goals.
He was influential in their aims to rise through a challenging time in the depths of League One, and helped captained them to back-to-back promotions and helped The Saints produce four successive top ten finishes between 2013 and 2017.
However, an excellent time on the south coast did not translate into a successful move back to London, as Fonte struggled to have a similar impact with West Ham and Slaven Bilic’s side.
In the 12 months he was at the club, he made just 24 appearances before a season-ending foot injury against Palace in November 2017 saw him have to miss the remainder of the campaign.
Fonte was then subsequently sold to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, although he spent less than six months there before returning to Europe and turning out for Lille.
Looking back on the transfer, £8m may have been a big price for David Gold and David Sullivan to have paid for the veteran defender.
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