Tottenham’s signing of Ezekiel Fryers from Standard Liege has caused great annoyance to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United – Good! The United manager has expressed disappointment with Tottenham and demanded that the Premier League stop the transfer in order to investigate it. He says that Tottenham’s signing of the player is a ‘blatant manipulation’ of the regulations and that he was not surprised Fryers had joined Spurs this month after what had happened during the summer.
Ferguson launched into a personal attack on Tottenham Chairman, Daniel Levy,
“I am disappointed in Tottenham….It has got Daniel Levy’s fingerprints all over it. It is a blatant manipulation of the situation.”
Fryers had trained with Tottenham during the summer with the intention of signing but the clubs could not reach agreement on a compensation package. United were looking for a fee of up to £6 million for the 19 year old who made 6 appearances for United in all competitions last season. He started 2 games and had a substitute appearance in the League Cup, 2 substitute appearances in the Premier League plus one as a substitute in Europe. Fryers then signed for Standard Liege in Belgium and made seven appearances for the club. The sacking of the Liege manager has led to Fryers dropping out of the team over the past couple of months.
The transfer to Liege was for less than £1 million. The regulations in England would have required Spurs to pay United a compensation fee for training him up as he was under 23 years of age. The regulations and rules for compensation for players under 23 are different in Belgium.
The one thing that you can say about Sir Alex Ferguson is that he will never accept a situation graciously if it has adverse consequences for Manchester United. He has a tremendous record at Old Trafford but he constantly acts with apparent impunity from the authorities on matters relating to United. He berates managers, referees, and other clubs with his all consuming passion for winning. Even Tottenham’s victory at Old Trafford this season was met with a rant about a lack of added time at the end of the second half.
Tottenham’s explanation for the signing of Fryers was that they were alerted to the fact that Fryers, having dropped out of the Liege team, was home-sick and looking to return to England. They then started negotiations and have signed him for a reported fee of £3 million.
Sir Alex Ferguson is quick to point the finger at others but forgetful of his own actions which could be open to question. On the last day of the August, 2008 transfer window, Tottenham reluctantly gave striker Dimitar Berbatoiv permission to have discussions with Mavnchester City over a possible transfer. On his arrival at Manchester airport, Berbatov was ‘kidnapped’ by Sir Alex Ferguson and driven away for discussions which concluded with Berbatov joining United. At the time, it was reported that Manchester United had not received permission from Tottenham to talk to Berbatov, a breach of transfer regulations which Ferguson has conveniently forgotten.
Tottenham were unhappy about the Berbatov situation but had to accept it, something it looks that United and Ferguson will have to do this time as it is thought that Tottenham have not broken any rules and United have not lodged a complaint with the authorities.