Sir Alex Ferguson has called for an inquiry into the transfer of 20-year-old defender Ezekiel Fryers from Belgian side Standard Liege to Tottenham Hotspur.
The former United youth product began his professional career with the Old Trafford club, making his first team debut in a League Cup match against Leeds United in September 2011. However, Ferguson believes this transfer to White Hart Lane, less than a year after negotiations over same player between the two Premier League clubs failed, might merit investigation.
"We expected that to be honest with you. 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," the 71-year-old Scot explained to the club's official website, adding, "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."
Ferguson's contention is that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy may have negotiated a deal with the Belgian side allowing them to act as an intermediary for the transfer of Fryers.
Regulations state that U23 players who have rejected a new contract at their parent club can only change clubs if an appropriate compensation fee is paid to the first club. Therefore, under those rules, Spurs would have had to pay United as much as £6m (the sum the Red Devils were demanding).
And now, according to a BBC Sport report, Fryers has now moved for £3m from Standard Liege; he signed for the Belgians in the summer, meaning he spent only six months there before returning to England.
Spurs have denied improper conduct on their part and were quoted as saying it was an unfortunate combination of events that led to Fryers returning to England.
An excerpt from the club's comment reads:
"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."