Koeman: Fonte signing keeps our ambition

By SFC Media Fri 08 Aug Club

Saints manager Ronald Koeman is delighted that José Fonte has committed his future to the club, and has rewarded the Portuguese defender with the team captaincy.

Koeman stated the importance of continuity and having leaders around the club, before confirming that while Kelvin Davis remains in his role as club captain, Fonte will wear the armband on matchdays in order to build upon the foundations from last season.

The gaffer explained: “We are very happy because we like to keep the good, experienced players.

“José is the captain for this season on the field – we have another captain in Kelvin Davis, who is the captain of the club, but José is the captain on the pitch.

“I am very pleased about his new contract, which keeps our ambition and philosophy of the club. I am happy about that.

“We lost some good players and have had a little bit of rebuilding of our team and we said: ‘OK, it’s enough now’ – we have to bring new players in, and we like to keep the good ones in the squad.

“It’s a signal to everybody with the situation of José,” Koeman continued.

“I have been manager for a short period – we are talking about five weeks – but the club is very happy about [Fonte’s] performance and the person. That is very important and we do everything to keep those kind of players in our team.”

Koeman also confirmed that he is still looking to add players to the Saints squad, revealing that bids had been made and that he has an idea of how many more signings he is looking for.

“It’s not that I say one or two or three,” the coach replied when asked how many signings he’s looking to make, “but we need more competition in the squad because we have to be prepared.

“I am very happy about the qualities in the squad until now, but you know even more than I know that a season is long in the Premier League. 

“We need more players, and more players on the level of the Premier League.”

Following Wednesday’s arrival of Saphir Taïder, there are unlikely to be any further new faces in the squad ahead of the team’s last pre-season friendly, against Bayer 04 Leverkusen at St Mary’s on Saturday.

One person who won’t be involved in the warm-up game against the Germans is Morgan Schneiderlin, who the manager explained has a few days to consider his short- and long-term options.

“We spoke to Morgan this morning,” said Koeman. “The situation is difficult because the player makes it difficult.

“I spoke to Morgan with our chairman and the situation has not changed. We don’t sell Schneiderlin and he has to accept that.

“He is not in the squad because he said he is not in a physical but even more not in a mental way prepared for tomorrow.

“On one side I can understand that, and we said ‘we will give you the weekend off the think about this situation’. 

“Then, on Monday morning, we have a training session and one week to prepare for the first away match against Liverpool. You can continue as a football player of Southampton and now it’s up to him.

“Of course, I like that he will stay because he’s a very good player and a key player in the team. We like to keep them.

“We lost some players and the club did a great job to bring in new ones, but now we have to prepare for next week.”

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