Chesterfield have confirmed the signing of defender Sadiq El Fitouri after Manchester United released the Libya international. The 22-year-old has joined the League One outfit until the end of the season after his deal was cut short at Old Trafford, where he failed to make a single senior appearance in two years.
El Fitouri joined from non-league Salford City in January 2015 on an initial 18-month professional deal after being recommended by former United players Paul Scholes and Phil Neville – who both own an ownership stake in the National League North side. However, despite earning an extension in the summer his outings were restricted to the Under-23s for whom he made 25 appearances in the Premier League's reserve division.
The ex-Manchester City youngster can operate either at right back or centre back and will bolster a Chesterfield side who are three points from safety in the third tier of English football. El Fitouri admitted he jumped at the chance to leave United when the offer was submitted on deadline day and wants to assist in The Spireites' survival push.
"I'm very pleased to be here," he told Chesterfield's official website. "After training on Tuesday, I got a phone call saying that Chesterfield were interested and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to come here and show what I can do.
"I spoke to the manager [Gary Caldwell] and he told me that he was happy to sign me and he told me that he likes the philosophy of working with young players and to play out from the back. Hopefully I'll get the chance to play games and help the club stay in the division."
Caldwell added: "He is somebody who was not getting the game time at Manchester United with the Under-23s and felt that it was a great opportunity to kick-start his career here," said the Spireites boss.
"Obviously Manchester United is a huge club and it is very difficult to break through there, but we felt that we could give him the opportunity here for first team football. He will be able to work with the young players that we have and develop on the training pitch."
Caldwell is expected to have El Fitouri available for the clash with Oldham Athletic this weekend when the youngster could make his league debut. The departure meanwhile represents the sixth player to leave United in 2017. Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Sean Goss have left on a permanent basis, while goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and Joe Riley have complete loan deals away from the Theatre of Dreams.