Sir Alex Ferguson has voiced his frustration over Zeki Fryers £3m move from Standard Liege to Spurs. The youngster left United in the summer for the Belgium club after Spurs refused to pay United’s asking price. As he was out of contract, a tribunal would have set the transfer fee, as United were entitled to compensation because he came from our academy.
As Standard Liege are a foreign club, they’re not restricted to the same rules as other English clubs, so they signed him at a minimal cost. Given they have sold him just six months later, it appears as though Spurs came to an agreement with the Belgian club at the time, so that Spurs could get the player at a cut down price and Standard Liege could make a profit for having a player on their books for six months.
“There’s nothing we can do about it but we should really register our discontent,” Fergie said. “The registration should be stopped. To me, I think it’s a blatant manipulation of the rules. 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. We knew immediately and suspected that he would return to Tottenham in January and that’s happened.”
Spurs have responded to Ferguson’s accusations by claiming that Fryers was homesick and that no pre-arranged deal had been made.
“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 he had become homesick meant he wanted to return to England. His representatives made contact with clubs in England. This afforded us a second opportunity to sign the player and as per Fifa’s solidarity contribution mechanism, Manchester United will receive 5% of the transfer fee we have paid.”