ManU Manager Ferguson Accuses Tottenham Hotspur Of Transfer Market Manipulation
ManU Manager Alex Ferguson "has accused Tottenham Hotspur of manipulating the transfer market" to avoid paying ManU compensation for its former 20-year-old left-back Zeki Fryers, according to Tim Rich of the London INDEPENDENT. Ferguson suspects that Tottenham "deliberately encouraged Fryers to move from ManU to Standard Liège in the summer," so it could buy him back from the Belgian club in January and save itself anything up to £6M ($9.75M) in compensation. Ferguson said, "I am disappointed in Tottenham, I really am. I think it has been a blatant manipulation of the system" (INDEPENDENT, 1/4). In London, Jamie Jackson reported Ferguson "wants the Premier League to examine Tottenham Hotspur's signing." Ferguson claims there "will be a mobile phone trail." Had Tottenham pushed ahead with a move for Fryers at that time, a fee "would have been set by a Premier League tribunal, which might have been expected to award United compensation of £5M-6M ($8.13M-9.75M)." The Belgian club paid ManU £250,000 ($406,000) for the Manchester-born Fryers last summer, a fraction of United's target fee because the player "was moving abroad rather than between Premier League clubs." Ferguson namechecked Tottenham Chair Daniel Levy on MUTV: "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." Spurs deny any impropriety. A spokesperson said: "Zeki was out of contract [with United] in the summer, we had looked into the possibility of signing the player but were unable to agree a deal on the terms Manchester United were asking" (GUARDIAN, 1/4). Standard Liège said on its website Fryers "felt homesick and had difficulty acclimatising to life away from home and family. So when the London club became interested we understood the situation and were not opposed to the return of the player to England" (GOAL, 1/5).
MAGPIES APPOLOGY: Meanwhile, the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS reported Ferguson "has attempted to smooth things over with the Newcastle fans by telling them they are 'up there with the best supporters in the game.'" Ferguson caused outrage among the Toon Army when he described Newcastle as a "wee club in the North East" during his recent spat with Magpies Manager Alan Pardew. Ferguson said, "I want to clear up any misunderstanding that may have arisen over what I said. I have nothing but the highest regard for Newcastle fans and I always have had" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 1/6).