West Ham United have signed Southampton captain Jose Fonte for £8m on a two and a half year deal, the 33 year old Portugal centre back who spent seven years at Southampton made a transfer request with 18 months left to run on his current Saints deal, to some west ham fans this may seem an extortionate amount of money to pay for a player who is well past his sell by date, but those in the know seem to think differently. The transfer includes a possible £1m in add ons and gives Fonte the option to extend his contract for a further year. Southampton's director of football Les Reed said Fonte had the chance to sign an improved deal but requested a move, Fonte, a Euro 2016 winner, said Slaven Bilic was "a very big influence" in convincing him to choose the Hammers ahead of other clubs. "I thought that he really wanted me and that he sold me the project and the ambition of the club." Fonte's arrival probably signifies James Collins' departure to link up with former Hammer James Tomkins and former Hammer's manager Sam Allarydce at London rivals Crystal Palace.
West Ham's leaky defence has been an unwelcome aspect to this unedifying season, and without wanting to disrespect 'the ginger pele', every time he receives the ball he is an accident waiting to happen, but as a defensive header of the ball he is imperious, unfortunately in possession of the ball he launches dangerous and miss placed passes with apparent abandon and as such does need to be replaced with a more mobile and cerebral player, albeit of the same age.
Anyone who has witnessed the frailty of what was last season's stoic defence, particularly at home, will understand the need for change, and whilst it might be emotional , it is a very practical and pragmatic view that has been adopted by Slaven Billic and should be thoroughly endorsed.- Ed