By Will Butcher

Leon Osman has called on Everton to look elsewhere after Ronald Koeman was reportedly interested in signing Southampton’s Jose Fonte.

The Mirror claimed on Tuesday that the Saints club captain was a target for Everton, with a bid of around £12million expected to be enough to see the Portugal international switch sides.

Speaking to Sky Sports’ Premier League Daily Show on Wednesday, Osman believes the signing of Fonte would be detrimental to Everton’s squad because of his age.

“It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he was the next person to walk through the front door at Goodison Park,” Osman said. “But he’s just brought in Ashley Williams and he already has Phil Jagielka.

“If he is looking to strengthen the centre-back area this month, he must target a younger group of players.”

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The 33-year-old defender worked with Koeman during the Dutchman’s spell at Southampton, but Osman is worried about having three centre-backs who are over the age of 32.

After winning Euro 2016 with his national side in the summer, Fonte has become disillusioned on the south coast after the two parties disagreed over a new contract.

Fonte joined Southampton back in 2010 when the club were in the third tier of English football, and has since made a total of 286 league and cup appearances for Claude Puel’s side.

Football Insider verdict: 

Ex-midfielder Osman has a point. With Ramiro Funes Mori also on the books as a recognised centre-back, the Toffees are not in desperate need of a defender and adding another central defender who is in the tail end of his career would be a poor piece of business. With Williams already 32 and club captain Jagielka at 34 years of age, signing Fonte would be unwise, especially at a huge price of £12million. Although possessing plenty of talent and actually improving as he gets older, Fonte is unlikely to have more than another two years at the top level and the Toffees should look elsewhere.

In other Everton transfer news, Koeman has made a £15.6million bid for this Serie A ace.

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