Jose Fonte leaving Southampton for West Ham United in 2017 wasn’t really a transfer to make big headlines, but it did seem curious.
For neither the defender, nor his new club, was it a big rise in quality and the switch appeared to be one of convenience for all involved.
Fonte stayed at the Hammers for just over a year and then moved to China to sign for Dalian Yifang. That wasn’t going to be a long term thing either, and less than six months later he was back in Europe with Lille.
But it was the move before that which Fonte was most unsure about, happy at Crystal Palace and not wanting a change.
In their Saturday edition, L’Equipe have an article on the player’s career, and when it comes around to joining the Saints, they quote Fonte as saying: “I didn’t want to go, but the club needed to sell us, Victor Moses and me. So, with my agent and the Southampton executives, we went to a hotel in the snow, halfway between the two cities.”
The player remained reluctant, but the snow kept falling and meant he had to remain at the hotel, giving a chance for the talks to continue.
Nicola Cortese, formerly a Southampton executive, explained: “It was hard to agree and I thought the deal was dead when they wanted to leave. But, outside, there was 50cm of snow, so they stayed at the hotel, we resumed the discussion and we finally agreed. Jose is very intelligent, he quickly understood: ‘You’re asking me to take a step back to make two ahead, right?’ That was it.”
So if it hadn’t been for a snow storm, Fonte may not have left Crystal Palace when he did.