By support

5th Jan, 2017 | 4:21pm

Confirmed: PL defender hands in transfer request, Everton reportedly big admirers

By Harvey Byrne

Reported Everton target and Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte has handed a transfer request in at the south coast side, it was confirmed on Thursday.

The 33-year-old centre-back is the Saints’ current captain and has been at the club since 2010.

However, director of football Les Reed revealed on Thursday afternoon that the Euro 2016 winner has asked to leave the club.

“He’s had several opportunities to improve the contract situation. He’s reserved his right not to do that,” told Reed to BBC Radio Solent, as quoted by BBC Sport.

“He’s made it very clear he would like to explore the opportunities for a transfer.

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

It is stated that Reed went on to say that the south coast side have not yet received a formal bid for their star player.

But, the Mirror reported in December that Everton were monitoring his situation on the south coast, while also having a bid of £9million turned down in the summer.

Fonte has grown with Southampton up from the depths of the English third tier after joining in a £1.2million deal from Crystal Palace.

He has seemingly got better with each passing season and it was Toffees boss Ronald Koeman who made him the captain of the south coast team.

Fonte has less than 18 months left on his current contract and having now asked to leave he could be picked up at a cut price by Everton.

Football Insider verdict:

Fonte would be a quality addition to any side in the English top flight and there is no doubt that he would be an improvement on Toffees duo Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka. The Portugal international has been vital in Southampton’s rise up the English leagues and even played a crucial part in his country winning this summer’s European Championships. He has still played 19 times for the Saints this campaign and has performed very admirably despite all the off the field problems. He would be a fantastic addition to the Merseyside club and would help shore up the defensive weaknesses.

In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have been tipped to sign this Premier League midfielder.