It might have ended up being a far more roundabout transfer than they expected, but Tottenham Hotspur have got their man, signing Ezekiel Fryers from Standard Liege after failing to agree a deal for the left back with Manchester United in the summer.
Spurs will not only be delighted with the business side of the deal - they trimmed £3 million off Manchester United’s asking price by going via Liege - but they will be pleased to have secured the services of such an exciting prospect.
Fryers is only 20, and was rated very highly at Old Trafford before he decided to turn down a three year contract there and leave in search of first team action. The question now will be whether he is likely to see that action in the near future at White Hart Lane.
Fryers is no doubt a talented young player, but is unlikely to displace Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who has just returned from injury, from the first team. There have been rumours that the Cameroonian could leave Spurs this window, but there has been no indication from the club or the player that this could happen.
It will be interesting to see if Fryers can mount a challenge to Assou-Ekotto for the left back slot, and also whether he automatically goes into the pecking order ahead of Kyle Naughton, who has filled in recently, and Danny Rose, who has been impressive at Sunderland. Having such strength in depth in the position will be a boost to Andre Villas-Boas, who has had to turn to Jan Vertonghen to fill in at left back for much of the season so far.
Whatever his initial role is, Fryers has plenty of time to make an impact at White Hart Lane, and he is another young, talented player to add to the ranks at Villas-Boas’ disposal. If he fulfills his undoubted potential, then the protracted transfer wrangle that saw him arrive via Standard Liege will have looked like a shrewd piece of business by Spurs.