Jose Fonte will not feature in Southampton’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool as speculation over his future continues.
Saints director of football Les Reed revealed on Thursday the 33-year-old – who has been linked with Manchester United – had submitted a transfer request, despite having a contract that runs until June 2018.
Fonte did not feature in the 2-2 draw with Norwich City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday and manager Claude Puel confirmed he will not be included in the squad for the visit of Liverpool on Wednesday.
“Jose won’t participate in this game. We will see for the next game,” said Puel.
“It is important for me to keep stability in the defence with the players. We don’t know the future for Jose, it is perhaps a little difficult because of the situation.
“The club has given him the possibility to study different opportunities during the window and it’s important to respect this.
“I respect Jose and this is not easy for him, the squad or the staff. It’s difficult to play and concentrate with this situation.
“He is a good professional, but we have to respect this.”
Puel will look for an alternative should Fonte depart before the end of the transfer window, but he would also be willing to sign players in other areas.
He said: “If Jose leaves the club, it’s normal you see opportunities. It’s important for us to keep our eyes open in the transfer window because of the situation of Jose, but perhaps for other opportunities.”
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