Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has accused Tottenham of "blatant manipulation" over the signing of defender Zeki Fryers and wants the Premier League to investigate the deal.
Fryers left United for Standard Liege for a small compensation fee in August, after Spurs baulked at paying £6m.
But now Spurs have signed the 20-year-old from Standard for a reported £3m.
"I'm disappointed in Tottenham. I think it's a blatant manipulation of the situation," said Ferguson.
"I think the league should look into it and I think they should stop his registration until they examine it."
However, United are yet to make a formal complaint to the Premier League, who declined to comment on the matter.
Tottenham told BBC Sport that they only made a second approach for Fryers after being made aware that the player was "homesick" in Belgium.
A Spurs spokesman said: "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.
"His representatives made contact with clubs in England. This afforded us a second opportunity to sign the player and as per Fifa's solidarity contribution mechanism, Manchester United will receive 5% of the transfer fee we have paid."
Standard Liege later issued a statement which read: "The young defender felt homesick and had difficulty acclimating to life away from home and family.
"So when the London club became interested we understood the situation and were not opposed to the return of the player in England."
The story dates back to pre-season when Fryers - capped by England at Under-16, 17 and 19 level - trained with Spurs with a view to a permanent move to White Hart Lane.
But under league rules for players under 23 who have rejected the offer of a new contract with their clubs, Tottenham - or any other English club - would have had to compensate United.
If no compensation fee were agreed, it would have been decided by a tribunal, with United reportedly holding out for £6m.
When Tottenham pulled out of the deal, Fryers was released to Liege for a smaller fee dictated by Fifa's compensation system.
"They tried to buy him from us at the end of last season," said Ferguson. "They then took him on trial and said they couldn't afford him and all of a sudden he signed for Standard Liege.
"I expected him to go to Tottenham in the January transfer window. The league should look into it."
Fryers, who made six appearances for Manchester United's first team, will initially link up with Spurs' development squad and provide cover for first choice left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.