Sir Alex Ferguson has hit out at Tottenham over the signing of former defender Zeki Fryers. The United manager labelled the transfer a “blatant manipulation” of the rules and has called for the footballing authorities to investigate.
Fryers left United in the summer, departing for Belgian team Standard Liege for a small compensation fee.
Tottenham were originally interested in the promising full back. However, when it emerged United were after £6 million in compensation, they appeared to pull out.
However, news broke late last night that Fryers would sign for the London club in a £3 million deal, half of what United were asking for just months previously.
This has drawn the ire of Ferguson who was publicly outraged when speaking to MUTV. He said: “I’m disappointed in Tottenham. I think it’s a blatant manipulation of the situation.
“I think the league should look into it and I think they should stop his registration until they examine it.
“We knew immediately and suspected that he would return to Tottenham in January and that’s happened.”
The club have not yet officially complained and as yet there is no word whether they will or not.
In the past United have been accused of “tapping up” offences previously with the signings of French midfielder Paul Pogba from Le Havre and Michele Fornasier coming under scrutiny. The club was cleared by FIFA on both occasions.
Tottenham have launched a staunch defence of the deal. A club spokesman said: “Zeki Fryers was out of contract in the summer.
“We had looked in to the possibility of signing the player but were unable to agree a deal on the terms Manchester United were asking.
“Zeki chose to go to Standard Liege, who paid compensation to Manchester United. Zeki enjoyed his time at Standard. However, when Standard sacked their manager in November, Zeki wasn’t part of the new manager’s plans, which he accepts and understands happens in football.
“Unfortunately, a combination of this, and the fact that he had become homesick meant he wanted to return to England and his representatives made contact with clubs in England.”
The problem with this situation is that, technically, Daniel Levy hasn’t done anything wrong and Ferguson knows this. Levy is just an extremely shrewd businessman as he has proved once again here.
Ferguson said: “Tottenham did nothing wrong as he went to Standard Liege.
“They tried to buy him off us and we’d been looking for a certain figure. They wouldn’t pay it but asked if they could take him down there on trial and, at that time, he was out of contract in June anyway.
“So he went down on trial and he went to Portugal with them. They then said they weren’t prepared to pay the money and, all of a sudden, he signed for Standard Liege.”
As part of the deal, United will be entitled to 5% of the fee. However, the £150,000 the club will receive is substantially less than what United would have earned had 20-year-old Fryers gone to Tottenham in June.
Daniel Levy is renowned in the football world for getting good deals for all of his players and one only has to look at the money Tottenham got from the transfers of Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric.
“It’s a Daniel Levy deal. You know, it’s his fingerprints all over it. It’s the kind of thing we expected he was going to do,” continued Ferguson.
This is just the latest barb in a controversial couple of weeks for Ferguson following his comments about Alan Pardew and Newcastle, and confrontation with referee Mike Dean.
The loss of the highly rated Fryers clearly still angers Sir Alex, particularly after the recent losses of other youngsters Morrison and Pogba. It is disheartening, considering that the club is renowned for producing the finest young talent.
But the fact that Fryers, who made six appearances for the United first team, has left for a fraction of the money Sir Alex feels is fair to cover his development costs has clearly gotten up his nose, which explains his latest tirade despite United being accused of similar dealings in the past.