Southampton boss Claude Puel thinks Manchester United may be behind reports linking the defender with a transfer to Old Trafford just two days before the teams meet in the Premier League.
United host the Saints on Friday amid continued speculation that the 32-year-old centre-back is being chased by Jose Mourinho’s side.
Puel insists the transfer talk surrounding his captain, who has also been linked with Arsenal, is only a rumour but acknowledges the unusual timing and suggests the information in the reports could have originated from United.
“It is just a rumour,” Puel said of Fonte at his pre-match media conference. “It is just strange to see this rumour just before the game against United.
“It is a possibility it comes from United, it is strange. There is no problem with Jose. He is a very good professional.
“It is important to have him with us and we will see for Manchester if he can keep his place or not.
“Jose, the same as [Maya] Yoshida or [Virgil] van Dijk, made good training sessions and it is interesting for the team to have good players for this position.
“Jose is our captain and there is no problem with him.”
Puel confirmed Ryan Bertrand would not be fit to face United and was also asked about the prospect of facing Paul Pogba following his world-record transfer to United.
“Just Ryan Bertrand cannot play this game. He still has a little injury and he could not take part in training this week,” added the manager.
“It is not a big injury but it is important to resolve his problem.
“Paul Pogba is another good player, but only 11 can play. It’s important that we play our game and not concentrate on the other players.”
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