Saints remain optimistic that Jose Fonte will sign an improved contract at the club despite speculation linking him with a move away from St Mary’s.

The 32-year-old centre half has been offered a significant pay rise on his current deal, which keeps him at Saints until 2018, to bring him in line with the club’s top earners.

In recent days Fonte has been the subject of rumoured interest from Everton and Manchester United.

However, the Daily Echo understands that the club have had no contact from any other side regarding Fonte, and have certainly not opened preliminary talks with United as has been suggested.

Saints very much see Fonte as a key part of their plans this season under Claude Puel, and after awarding new contracts to a number of players want to ensure the captain has a pay rise to acknowledge his significance to the club.

At this stage Fonte is not being offered an extension to his deal due to his age.

It is understood that Saints remain hopeful Fonte will sign the new deal before too long, with Puel monitoring his fitness in the hope he can start against United at Old Trafford on Friday.

Having been given time to take a holiday after his Euro 2016 winning exploits with Portugal, Fonte wasn’t considered quite ready to start the season opener against Watford.

The only centre half transfer news at Saints at the moment is the departure of Jordan Turnbull, with the young defender having made a permanent switch to Coventry.

The Daily Echo also understands that there has been no interest in Saints striker Charlie Austin.

The 27-year-old only joined Saints in January for a fee of £4m, but has been linked with a move to Everton to link up again with Ronald Koeman if Romelu Lukakau is sold.

Austin is also reportedly the subject of a loan bid from QPR, but again Saints have not had contact and, like with Fonte, would not welcome it either.

Saints remain determined to keep their current squad intact, and only eye watering offers would even be entertained, certainly far in excess of the £8m being quoted for Fonte, if they were to ever even consider letting their leader go.

Instead, Puel remains in the market for another signing before the close of the transfer window, but does not want to rush a move while he assesses his squad in the heat of Premier League battle.