Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte has reportedly handed in a transfer request, with Manchester United in the hunt to secure his services.

According to the BBC, Spanish defender Jose Fonte has handed in a transfer request at Southampton amid rumours linking him with a move away from St Mary’s. The club’s director of football broke the news, sending shock-waves around the footballing world.

Speaking to BBC Radio Solent, Reed said, “He’s had several opportunities to improve the contract situation. He’s reserved his right not to do that. He’s made it very clear he would like to explore the opportunities for a transfer.

“That’s where we are at the moment, Jose wants to leave the club. He’s formally asked for a transfer.”

He also went on to state that the Saints are yet to receive a formal bid from any side for the club captain. Fonte only last month took to Instagram to state that he did not reject a contract extension at the club. But he has now, surprisingly, handed in a transfer request.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07: Jose Fonte of Southampton in action during the pre-season friendly between Southampton and Athletic Club Bilbao at St Mary's Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Jose Fonte of Southampton in action during the pre-season friendly between Southampton and Athletic Club Bilbao at St Mary’s Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo Courtesy: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Also, Saints boss Claude Puel recently revealed that Fonte was going to stay at St Mary’s until the end of the season, and has now been handed a huge blow as one of the key figures in his side has asked for an opportunity to leave.

This will have come as great news for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United who were closely linked with signing the defender in the summer.

Mourinho roped in Eric Bailly but he was interested in signing a defender who had experience playing in the Premier League and Fonte perfectly fit the bill for him. However, the Red Devils did not make any approaches because the Spaniard was unlikely to quit the club.

Arsenal, too, had emerged as suitors for Fonte in August, and manager Arsene Wenger may decide to swoop in with a bid, now that the player has been made available. It remains to be seen as to which team makes an offer and where the 33-year-old ends up come the end of the January window

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