Fulham have finally completed the signing of Sporting Braga captain Rui Fonte on a three-year contract for a fee that could reportedly rise to around £8.2m.
The Championship club’s pursuit of the former Arsenal and Crystal Palace forward has dragged on over the summer months with Braga president Antonio Salvador revealing that they had rejected four Fulham bids as they did not want to lose their talismanic forward. The 27 year-old, who is the younger brother of West Ham centre back Jose, has scored twice in four Braga appearances this season to follow his fourteen goals as they finished fifth in the Portuguese top flight.
Fonte moved from Sporting to Arsenal as a teenager but only made one appearance for the Gunners in a 2008 FA Cup tie against Wigan Athletic. He played ten times for Crystal Palace in the Championship the following season on loan, before moving to Setabul. He helped Benfica win the Portuguese Cup, scoring in the final against Porto, as they triumphed on penalties and, after a host of youth caps, was on the bench for Portugal’s 2-0 friendly win over Cape Verde in March 2015.
Fonte, who can play as a classical striker or on the right wing, told the Fulham website:
I am very happy and very excited to sign for Fulham, this is an amazing challenge. Fulham is a massive club and I’m looking forward to it. I wanted to say a big thank you to Braga who took me in as family and I’m thankful to all the staff and fans for their support during my time there.
He is expected to go straight into Fulham’s first-team squad for Saturday’s Championship clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Craven Cottage.