Mar 6, 2017 08:58:34
The veteran defender says his "conscience is very clear" regarding the move that saw him depart St Mary's little over a month ago
West Ham defender Jose Fonte has hit out at "lies" he says have been told over his Southampton exit in January.
The 33-year-old joined West ham in an £8 million deal after spending seven years with the Saints, a spell that saw him help the club from League One to the Premier League and become captain.
Fonte is angry at reports he handed in a transfer request and refused to train in order to force through a move, but confirmed he had been looking to leave since prior to this season.
"My conscience is very clear," the Portugal international said to Sky Sports ahead of West Ham's home match with Chelsea on Monday.
"When I see all over the news that I submitted a transfer request to leave the club – that is disappointing. That never happened.
"There was an interview from the club; from a press conference that I demanded to leave, which then the press took it as a transfer request and I wonder – where is it?
"I spoke to the club [after winning Euro 2016] and said there could be possibilities [to move] and I would like the club to consider it.
"In the summer there were possibilities of leaving – that is normal, everyone fights for their own interests to get the best possible outcome for yourself.
"To say that I wrote an official transfer request to the club, that is a lie. And also that I refused to train and I wasn't being a good captain? That is a complete lie. I have always given my best to that club. That is the main thing the fans should know."
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) March 6, 2017
Asked if he felt unfairly criticised, Fonte said: "No doubt. You need to know all the facts.
"I never wrote a letter to the manager or the club saying I want to leave because even when that came out in the beginning of January I didn't have a club to go to, so why would I put in a transfer request?
"The real fans know I have given everything for the club. They know every time I step on the pitch and put on the shirt, I give blood, sweat and tears. I have played with broken toes, broken ribs. I have done all I could to help the team go from League One to the Premier League.
"All I want them to know is that what they see in the press about me putting in a transfer request and I refused to train, that is all lies. I have never rejected to train or play. It is hard to see when people are saying I'm a bad egg or an apple.
"I appreciate what the club had done for me since day one but we all have to take care of our families. There were offers that came in that would take care of my family in ways that Southampton were not willing to. It is a difficult situation.
"I arrived in the Premier League late at 29 years old – you still have to live 50 years after football. You do your best for yourself and your family. You have got to fight for what you believe. I respected the club."