No regrets from Puel over Fonte departure

No regrets from Puel over Fonte departure

The Saints boss says he does not regret letting Jose Fonte leave the club during the January transfer window.

Aaron Stokes

Southampton boss Claude Puel has revealed he has no regrets about allowing former skipper Jose Fonte to leave the club, despite not bringing in a suitable replacement before the transfer window shut.

The Portuguese defender will return to St.Mary's with his new club West Ham tomorrow and will be hoping for a positive reaction after his years of service at the South Coast outfit. 

Important to look forward

When inevitably pressed about the return of the former Saints man, Puel tried to remain positive. The Frenchman insisted, “We cannot regret [letting him go] because at the moment when Jose left Southampton it was a good moment for him.”

The 55-year-old went on to say, “It’s important to see forward. I hope he can come back with good support from the fans just at the beginning of the game."

Despite rumours of a rift between the pair before Fonte's exit, Puel remained positive throughout his interview, going on to say, “He did fantastic work for many years," before adding, "He was an important player. His position was difficult since the beginning of the season."

Limited options

Fonte's departure to the capital, coupled by the fact Southampton failed to bring in a central defender during the window, means Maya Yoshida, Florin Gardos and Jack Stephens are the only three available players in that position at the moment. 

However, Puel insists the club did attempt to bring a defender in before the deadline. 

“We worked to replace Jose and after we are unlucky with the injury of Virgil,” claimed Puel. “It was a priority and we worked hard but without finding a solution."

The Saints were linked with a move for Serdar Tasci, of Spartak Moscow, but a deal couldn't be agreed on Deadline Day. 

Southampton will be hoping Fonte has an unhappy return when West Ham visit tomorrow at 3pm.