London (AFP) – West Ham signed Portugal defender Jose Fonte from Southampton in an £8 million ($9 million) swoop on Friday.
Fonte had been dropped by Southampton manager Claude Puel earlier this month after the club captain handed in a transfer request.
The 33-year-old was linked with moves to Liverpool and Manchester City, but Hammers boss Slaven Bilic convinced him to move to east London.
Fonte, who had been at Southampton for over three years, agreed a two-and-half-year contract with West Ham and the Euro 2016 winner also has an option to extend the deal for another season.
“I signed for West Ham because they are a great club and a very big club. They have a lot of fans and I have known for a number of years how passionate they are,” Fonte told the club’s website.
“The manager was also a very big influence. I thought that he really wanted me and that he sold me the project and the ambition of the Club.
“I also have part of my family living in London and they are big West Ham fans. It just made sense for me at this stage to join West Ham. It is a new challenge and a new beginning and I am looking forward to it.
“With the way that West Ham is going we can only look to be challenging in the top eight.
“I told the manager in conversations that we want to win and we want to win trophies. The ambition is big and we need to aim high.”
Fonte will not be available for Saturday’s Premier League fixture at Middlesbrough, but could make his debut when Manchester City visit the London Stadium on February 1.
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