Claude Puel insists Jose Fonte will remain a Saints player after the skipper held crunch talks with the club’s board.

Fonte has continually been linked with a move away from St Mary’s since his Euro 2016 winning exploits with Portugal, with Manchester United reported to be interested.

Saints have offered Fonte a pay rise on his current contract, which runs until the summer of 2018, although not an extension due to the fact he is 32. That deal remains on the table waiting to be signed.

Puel hinted that Fonte wanted to talk about his options with the club, but insisted any problems have been smoothed over after the centre half held a meeting with chairman Ralph Krueger and football chief Les Reed.

He said: “The situation of Jose is now ready and normal and Jose is concentrate always on his football and his team.

“For Jose it was important for us, for me, to keep him in the squad because he has a good personality, a good professional and good leadership.

“It’s important to keep Jose. It’s normal at the start of the pre-season or after the Euros to have different thoughts but now all is OK.”

He added: “Jose is an important player for the team and also for the fans because they like Jose, they like the personality of Jose, and I think his work with Southampton is not finished.

“You have good opportunities for the Europa League and the different games of the Premier League, and for me it’s very important to keep Jose and he’s ok with this.

“He had a good discussion with the director, with the chairman, and now all is ok.

“In the final he can be happy because Jose stay and is a good player for the team.”

Saints are adamant that they will not sell Fonte, even if the contract remains unsigned come deadline day.