FORMER Saints defender Jose Fonte has revealed why he didn't return to the club this summer despite interest in a reunion. 

The 39 year old was available as a free agent having departed Ligue 1 side Lille, with whom he won the French title.

As reported by the Daily Echo this summer, Fonte was open to coming back to Saints as the club considered him among several experienced centre-back options to sign.

The move didn't materialise with the Euro 2016 winner instead returning to his home country to sign for Braga.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5live, Fonte discussed how returning to the south coast would have been possible had the "timings" been correct.

He said: “It feels great to be back home, I can’t lie. It feels good. All the doors were open (this summer) when I left Lille. Honestly, I was looking everywhere.

Daily Echo: Club legend Jose Fonte made nearly 300 appearances for Saints before his January 2017 move to West

“I was looking in England, there was a possibility of going back to Saints. In the end, it didn’t materialise because of timings, but there was a real opportunity there that I was looking forward to.

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“I was looking forward to continuing my adventure with Lille because I was happy and successful there, but the club decided to go a different direction."

At 39 years old and without a club, Fonte began to grow anxious about the future of his playing career.

With an offer on the table from Braga, who finished 3rd in the Portuguese league last season, earning them a place in the Champion League, he felt compelled to make a decision on his future. 

“After a couple of weeks, I wanted to make a decision. I had to make a decision. I couldn’t see myself as a free agent waiting for too long.

"At 39 years old I wasn’t confident that if I didn’t accept the offer from Braga that I would get an offer from another club.

“Braga are a very good club in the Champions League that wants to win the title for the first time which is a great challenge.

“It's also where my brother lives. I can be with him every day and also my mother lives really close.  In the end it was a really good decision and I’m happy with it.”