Jose Fonte had a good partner this season at CB. A really, really good partner. That may make Jose Fonte look better or worse, depending on your perspective. Regardless, Jose Fonte had a quietly solid season, and another great year as a top leader at the club.
Fonte struggled a bit earlier, but the partnership with Virgil Van Dijk really helped him out, and he had a better season towards latter half of the year. Fonte's age has begun to show and it may be good to begin looking for younger replacements, maybe not to completely take over next season, but to be an understudy under two of the league's best defensemen.
Fonte scored twice this season, and had one assist. His goals came in a 2-2 draw with Leicester, and in Saints 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal. Fonte is fairly dangerous in the air, just like Van Dijk, so there is some warranted confidence and excitement when both of them are up for corners or set-pieces.
Fonte is typically smart with the ball at his feet. He makes mistakes from time to time, and when he does, they are sometimes pretty costly mistakes. As I said, he is good in the air, and one-on-one defending is class.
Jose's leadership and loyalty to the club can not be undervalued or underappreciated. All the way from League One, he's improved and risen up with the club. He embodies true leadership and class, and will forever be remembered as a Southampton great.
It may be time, however, to begin looking for an understudy of Fonte. A promising young center-back would be very good for the club as Fonte's career winds down. An extra CB at the club would also allow Fonte to take a few games off, and maybe help his body last a few extra seasons.
SMM Final Grade: 7/10
SMM Summary: Many were worried at the beginning of the season, as it seemed that Fonte was declining. That turned out to be overblown, as his partnership with Virgil boosted the Saints defense. Fonte is getting older, and it may be time to search for possible replacements for the future. For now, he will enjoy another solid season ahead with Van Dijk, and the Europa League. He is a great leader, and a true gentleman.