West Ham signed Jose Fonte from Southampton in January 2017 for around £8 million (BBC).

Slaven Bilic brought the Portugal international to the London Stadium with his side floundering near the bottom three.

Much was expected of Fonte, then 33.

But he failed to deliver for the Hammers. The experienced defender looked like a completely different player to the one who had impressed during his stint with Southampton.

West Ham had seemingly bought a dud.

West Ham United Training and Press Conference

Jose Fonte (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Fonte was swiftly shipped out to China just one year after he signed for the Hammers, having played just 24 games for the east London outfit (Transfermarkt). He joined Dalian Yifang for around £5 million (BBC).


So how has he got on since leaving West Ham?

The centre-back’s time in China was very short lived indeed. He left to link up with Lille just five months later, having played just nine games for Dilian Yifang (Transfermarkt).

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League

Jose Fonte (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The 36-year-old Portuguese has gone on to be a regular feature for the Ligue 1 outfit. Fonte has made 71 appearances for Lille, racking up five goals in the process (Transfermarkt).

The former West Ham man’s contract with Lille doesn’t expire until the summer of 2021 (Transfermarkt). By which time he will be closer to 38 than 37.

And whether he goes on playing past that time remains to be seen.

West Ham United v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League

Jose Fonte (Photo by Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)

Fonte has racked up 42 international caps for Portugal during his time in the game, with the most recent of those coming in November 2019.

The 36-year-old never impressed during his time with West Ham. But maybe it was just a case of the wrong club at the wrong time for the centre-back.

On the other hand, however, and perhaps this is a little harsh, the Hammers haven’t missed him one bit since he’s been gone.

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