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How Daniel Levy pulled Manchester United's pants down

Tottenham have signed the England under-19 international from Belgian side Standard Liege just a few months after he left United for Belgium. But is there more to the tale...?

Thursday saw Tottenham Hotspur execute the £3 million signing of English youngster Zeki Fryers from Belgian side Standard Liege. The 20-year-old product of the Manchester United youth system only signed for the Belgian outfit in August last year and has played just a handful of games in his time abroad so it does seem a strange signing.

However when you consider other facts it looks like Tottenham, at least from their point of view, have completed an absolute master class in the transfer market.

Last summer Fryers looked to follow the lead of Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison by deciding his future lay away from Old Trafford and decided not to sign a new contract with The Red Devils. Tottenham took an immediate interest in the England youth international who they saw as excellent cover for Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left-back and he even trained with the club throughout the summer.

Yet as ever with moves of this ilk in England Spurs would have to pay a compensation fee for the player. As he was under 23 and had spent his football education at another club Tottenham would have to pay a fee for his services that would cover the expenses put in to place rearing the talent. According to sources Manchester United were ready to push for a £6 million fee at a tribunal that would undoubtedly of turned messy. 

In the end Spurs did not pursue it and on the 28th August last year Standard announced the signing of Fryers; without having to pay the sort of compensation an English team would have been forced to.

While of course we stop far short of accusing Tottenham of any wrongdoing in the deal it does seem as if circumstances have panned out brilliantly for them to get their man. Rather than pay the £6 million Manchester United were ready to fight for they have managed to bring him in for half that price just a few months later then they would have first wanted.

For those who know how much Daniel Levy likes to keep a short shrift on outgoing expenditure there is little doubt that this is a deal that will please him; and Andre Villas Boas who clearly has a strong interest in the future of the player.

When Standard signed Fryers they stated: 

‘’We spotted Ezekiel two years ago at the Elite Tournament where England and Belgium participated. He was out of contract with Manchester United and it was a great opportunity we could not miss."

Either way Standard have seized an opportunity. They may have lost a talented youngster but they have certainly made a profit on the deal. Tottenham Hotspur have their man and Manchester United are left the losers on this occasion.

Now all that remains to be seen is if Fryers can deliver on the pitch before this is classed as a transfer masterstroke.

image: © Doha Stadium Plus

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