Tottenham

Sir Alex Ferguson’s fury at Daniel Levy over Manchester United youngster-‘Blatant manipulation, there’ll be mobile phone records!’

Zeki Fryers was at the centre of transfer controversy shortly before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement

Daniel Levy and Manchester United have not always agreed, most recently regarding Harry Kane’s transfer eligibility.

While authorizing a sale this summer would seem like the wise move, the Tottenham chairman has a different opinion. Early on, United realized that Levy would be obstinate regarding Kane; perhaps this was due to the club’s dismal 2022–23 season rather than in spite of it.
According to rumors, Spurs may offer the striker a new contract that would pay him £400,000 per week, and if he accepts, it may be their most significant acquisition in years.

Levy is a shrewd businessman, not only in cashing in on players but ensuring his squad retains a substantial value. His approach has left many clubs frustrated down the years, including United.

ALSO READ: Manchester United could capitalise on Harry Kane to Bayern Munich transfer

In order to wrest Dimitar Berbatov from White Hart Lane in 2008 for £30m, a sum that at the time made people’s eyes water, Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to wait until deadline day. Levy faced Sir Alex’s fury for the signing of one of his former players four and a half years later.

Zeki Fryers was expected to have a bright career when he joined the long list of academy graduates and made his senior debut in a League Cup game against Leeds in September 2011.

The center defender/left back had six senior appearances at the age of 19, including two Premier League games and a Champions League cameo. The young player rejected United’s offer to extend his contract for another three years because he was keen to advance and found a different team that offered better chances to play.

According to league regulations, clubs who are interested in players under the age of 23 who are currently under contract must compensate the player’s prior employer. In the summer of 2012, Spurs enrolled Fryers in a trial but declined to pay the £6 million United demanded.

Eventually, Belgian powerhouses Standard Liege came calling, and the teenager had his head turned in an uncommon move that saw an English prodigy travel abroad. In the end, United earned less than £1 million in compensation.

Fryers stated immediately after his arrival, “United offered a three-year contract but I refused the offer. Spurs were considering it, but the cost was prohibitive. Then Standard Liege showed in, providing me with a great chance to participate in regular matches and gain experience.

“I believed the moment was perfect for me to depart and gain experience competing in a top league. In football, anything may happen, but I knew what was best for me when I made my choice.

“My main objective is to improve as a player, not to immediately gain notoriety on a global scale. In football, anything may happen at any time.

But after just seven appearances for his new team, Fryers would soon make his way back to English soil. Fryers was holding up a Tottenham shirt in front of the camera shortly after Levy learned that the defender was pining for a return to his native country in January 2013.

Sir Alex called out Levy after claiming to smell a rat. The United manager admitted, “I’m tremendously disappointed in Tottenham.

“In my opinion, the situation is being blatantly manipulated. At the conclusion of the previous season, they attempted to purchase him, but we couldn’t come to an agreement on the price. They sent him on trial and to Portugal with the Tottenham team before saying they couldn’t afford him when they returned.

“He signed for Standard Liege all of a sudden, but when I heard that, I thought he was going to Tottenham in January. Prior to reviewing it, the Premier League should halt registration. A trail, records, or whatever else will be left. To me, it’s obvious.

In his interview with MUTV, Sir Alex continued, “It’s a Daniel Levy transaction. You see, it has all of his fingerprints on it. It’s the sort of thing we anticipated he would do. Although it’s believed that no laws were breached, United was uneasy.

They thought about filing a formal grievance with the Premier League but finally decided against doing so. Statements from both Spurs and Standard Liege claimed that Fryers had been homesick and that the club’s ambitions had changed as a result of the new manager.

The teenage defender experienced homesickness and had trouble adjusting to life apart from his family, according to Standard Liege. Therefore, when the London club expressed interest, we understood the circumstances and were not against the player returning to England.

Tottenham announced that 5% of the £3 million paid to Standard Liege would go to United. Zeki’s contract with United expired in the summer, and a club representative said: “We looked into the potential of signing the player but were unable to reach a deal on the terms Manchester United were seeking.

Zeki decided to go to Standard Liege, who gave Manchester United compensation. Zeki had a good experience working at Standard. Zeki was not, however, a part of the new manager’s plans when they fired their manager [Ron Jans] in November, something the new manager accepted and understood occurred in football.

“Unfortunately, he wanted to go back to England because of this and the fact that he had started to feel homesick. His representatives got in touch with English clubs, which gave us another chance to recruit the player.

“Manchester United will receive 5% of the transfer fee we paid, in accordance with FIFA’s solidarity contribution mechanism,” said the transfer paying party.

Sir Alex, who was never hesitant to go on the big fish in Premier League boardrooms, ultimately succeeded in getting something for Fryers.

Fryers made 16 appearances for Tottenham and, after making his Premier League debut against Stoke City the following December, delivered a brazen post-game interview.

Many people claim that when you leave Manchester United, you fall. But in terms of my own development, I believe I have advanced.

He remarked of the turmoil surrounding his transfer to Tottenham: “There were always going to be allegations. I truly wanted a different experience. There were certain things there that didn’t work out for me.

“And I decided it was time to continue. I had the impression that I wished to participate in first team activities more frequently. To advance my job, I wanted to travel abroad. English players rarely travel abroad to play; instead, the majority of foreign players play in England.

“I therefore believed that I would go and attempt something fresh. It was enjoyable, and I had a terrific time.

On January 1st, United was the opponent, and Fryers acknowledged his desire to test himself against his former employers. Naturally, that would come to your thoughts, he added. Particularly when playing against strong teams like Man United, you want to get the ball rolling. I would want to debut against my old team.

He watched as Tottenham won 2-1 at Old Trafford, a rare victory for them there. Before moving to Crystal Palace in 2014, he only made nine more appearances. It was there that he faced United for the first and only time in his career.

He played for the final ten minutes of the match in December 2016 at Selhurst Park, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the game-winning goal in the 88th minute.

After playing for England’s Under-19 team, the 30-year-old former player spent time at Rotherham and Ipswich before moving on to Barnsley, Swindon, and Stockport. He played in 2022 for Welling United and Macclesfield, and he currently plays for Swedish second-tier team AFC Eskilstuna.

Levy’s sharp financial sense benefited Spurs a decade ago. Time will tell if Kane is successful with his transfer strategy.

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