Jose Fonte yesterday signed a new contract at Saints and was appointed team captain, before declaring: “We can emulate last season’s success.”

The Portuguese centre half agreed a new deal that takes him through to 2017, while he was also handed the armband by Ronald Koeman.

Immediately after taking on the responsibility, which was previously held by Adam Lallana, Fonte issued a bullish response to the question of what would represent a successful campaign for the club.

Daily Echo:

“Emulate last season,” he said. “We have to be realistic, we have to be ambitious. The manager is ambitious.

“We finished eighth last season, which was a great achievement, behind Man United, so this year we go for the same or better.

“We have a lot of changes, yes, but with a few additions, with the great players that are left in the squad, we cannot have ambitions for less.

“We need to be brave and work for that. It’s important to work for that and we will.”

Kelvin Davis will remain as the club captain, but it will be Fonte who wears the armband on matchdays.

It is a prospect he is relishing.

“It’s a great honour for me that the gaffer chose me,” he said. “I have done that before in the past, but now I am the one after Kelvin Davis. It’s a great honour and responsibility.

“I’ve always tried to help, especially, the young kids and my teammates, to galvanise them and help them to be the best possible, to be as good as we can be, so I’ll be trying to do that every day.”

Fonte admitted there was interest in him from other clubs this summer, as he entered the final year of his contract, with Championship club Cardiff having two bids rejected.

But he said he was always keen to remain at St Mary’s.

“There was interest, I think everyone saw, but this has been my place, my home for the last five years – I’ve been successful here,” he said.

“I’ve had so many promotions and so many good memories and why would you want to change something that’s been so good for you and been so right?

“This is a place where I love to be and I feel at home here, so I’m very happy I made the decision.”

While Fonte is most certainly staying put, there remains doubt about the future of his teammate and friend, Morgan Schneiderlin.

Fonte knows how crucial it will be to keep hold of him.

“It’s very simple, Schneidlerin is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League,” said the 30-year-old.

“As a teammate, I want to have him always in front of me. He has more interceptions than anyone else, more tackles than anyone else, runs miles. He’s a great player.

“As the manager said, it’s a difficult situation. For us, as a team, we want him in the team and we will do everything to make him happy and to make him want to be here and help us achieve great things.”