Jose Fonte: Southampton manager Claude Puel determined to hold on to captain

Jose Fonte
Jose Fonte signed a new three-year contract at Southampton in October 2015

New Southampton manager Claude Puel says captain and Portugal international Jose Fonte is staying at the club.

Centre-back Fonte, 32, helped his country to Euro 2016 victory in July and has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

"It is important to keep Jose Fonte at Southampton," Puel said.

"He is a very important player for the team, a good player and I don't see that it is a possibility for him to leave us."

Puel, who joined the club as successor to Ronald Koeman in June, believes many players in his squad will attract interest during the transfer window.

"It's no different for Jose Fonte than it is for other players," he said. "I'm enjoying sitting down and working with this squad.

"The qualities are there, but there is also the spirit and attitude, which is encouraging for the future of Southampton."

Puel will take charge of his first Premier League game at home to Watford on Saturday.

The former Nice, Monaco and Lyon manager will be without England left-back Ryan Bertrand through injury, but is set to use summer signing Nathan Redmond in an attacking role.

Puel said: "Last season at Norwich, he often played out wide, but I think he is a very good striker. He can make different things happen. It's a good surprise for me, because he has real potential."

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