Jose Fonte refused to play in a reserve game for West Ham United before his recent move to Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang, according to pundit Davie Provan.
The Celtic legend claimed that the Portuguese defender declined the chance to play at Dagenham & Redbridge, a fixture which was designed to get him match fit and back in first-team contention.
“A couple of weeks ago I mentioned David Moyes arranging a reserve game to get an injured player match-fit,” Provan wrote in his column for The Scottish Sun over the weekend.
“The game was at Dagenham and Redbridge and to Moysey’s frustration Jose Fonte didn’t fancy pulling on his boots at the National League club’s ground.
“Now, Fonte is signing for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.
“He couldn’t cross London for a reserve game but is answering the call of the cash register five thousand miles away.”
The news is likely to incense Hammers fans, who rarely saw the best of Fonte following his move from Southampton in January 2017.
Now, having chosen to take the money offered to him in China, it would appear that his heart was never in the Irons’ fight against Premier League relegation.
The Euro 2016 winner arrived at the London Stadium with a reputation as one of the division’s more solid centre-halves from his time with the Saints.
However, he struggled for form under Slaven Bilic and did not manage a single appearance after Moyes took over as manager, thanks in part to an injury suffered against Crystal Palace in late October.
His decision to leave may partly have stemmed from an interview given by co-owner David Sullivan to The Guardian in December, in which he criticised Fonte’s signing.
Nonetheless, the West Ham faithful are unlikely to rue the departure of a player who seemed unwilling to roll up his sleeves for the cause.