Jose Fonte has paved the way for a January transfer to Manchester United after he revealed Southampton would not offer him a new contract.
Recent reports claimed Southampton would allow Fonte, 32, to leave the club next month after talks over a new contract for the Portugal international stalled.
It was suggested Fonte had rejected a new deal offered by the club but the Euro 2016 winner clarified Southampton have not even tabled an offer.
In an Instagram post, Fonte wrote: “Just to set the record straight I did NOT reject a new contract, in fact I have been informed by Southampton that they are NOT offering me a new contract.
“My focus is on Thursday helping us win the game!”
Fonte is represented by Jose Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes and United were interested in signing him in the summer transfer window but failed to jettison defender Marcos Rojo.
Rojo, criticised for a dangerous tackle on Everton’s Idrissa Gueye at the weekend, has impressed alongside Phil Jones over the last month but Eric Bailly is available again.
However, Bailly will link up with the Ivory Coast squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations next month and Mourinho is intent on signing two defenders next month.
Fonte joined Southampton from Crystal Palace in 2010 and was a member of the squads which won promotion from League One and the Championship in successive seasons.