When charged by the Crown Prosecution Service with a number of offenses including attempted rape, Manchester United may have thought they would never find themselves in this situation.
The wheels of justice had begun to turn, and Old Trafford officials would have been forgiven for thinking that a judge or jury would deliver the verdict on Mason Greenwood.
Instead, that responsibility now rests on their shoulders.
Prompt responses may not have been forthcoming, which is perhaps understandable. As Mail Sport report today, following the CPS charges being dropped in February and with their own investigation – on which so much rests – yet to be concluded, United bosses are considering sending the player from 21 years away for the whole of next season. . It’s kind of a fix, but a temporary one that could add another chapter to a damaging story that’s now been going on for a year and a half.
Should there be sympathy for the club? This, like the situation itself, is complex. To their credit, United acted quickly at first. On the same Sunday in January last year, audio and video – which appeared to show a woman with multiple bruises and a bloody face – leaked online they announced they had suspended Greenwood – who has was arrested the same day.
Manchester United explore potential loan options for Mason Greenwood
Greenwood is currently suspended by the club pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
United manager Erik ten Hag needs striker as Greenwood absence persists
And when, more than a year later, news broke that the charges had been dropped thanks to the withdrawal of key witnesses and ‘new evidence’ which ‘meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. “, they again quickly announced that they would open their own probe. The player, on £75,000 a week until June 2025, would remain out of action.
United bosses were keen that the issue did not become a huge distraction for manager Erik ten Hag as his side sought to qualify for the Champions League. Indeed, it is understood the investigation has accelerated since the 2-1 loss to neighbors Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday ended a relatively successful season.
While the issue is considered a separate issue, there is also the ongoing takeover saga, which is taking much longer than expected. Those involved may want to seek the advice of a new buyer, should the Glazers decide on Sir Jim Ratcliffe or Sheik Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
United will act with the best interests of the club at heart. Greenwood was a very talented player. Some may wonder if, had he struggled in the academy, a decision would have been easier to make. There are also those who believe it raises serious questions about the environment the club provides for young players, suggestions which United would refute.
A loan move may seem logical. It is hoped that the club’s investigation will be concluded in the near future. Should they decide to keep Greenwood, a move abroad would give United the chance to create some distance. It would also allow the striker – who has scored 35 goals in 129 games, a fine comeback for someone his age – to play football again. United would no doubt be monitoring the situation closely, as well as the player’s mental health, form and demeanor.
Public reaction would also be measured and another year between Greenwood showing up for United and the start of the deal would have passed by the time he returns to Manchester. The dressing room views of the men’s and women’s teams, already solicited, would no doubt be reconsidered. After long being accused of shunning the women’s game, United have poured resources into their WSL squad and are reaping the rewards. The opinions of their players, given the nature of the allegations subsequently dropped, will be essential.
Should United fail to complete their investigation this summer, a loan deal would also buy them more time. However, the possibility of them discovering that Greenwood discredited the club and subsequently tore up their contract should not be ruled out.
United may determine Greenwood brought club into disrepute and tore up contract
The likelihood of the United Academy product heading to another Premier League club is low
Given that there are so many issues at stake, football itself can seem trivial. While they might argue that’s irrelevant, the striker is clearly a need for Ten Hag and Greenwood’s absence lingers in the background.
In a recent interview, the manager admitted that Greenwood has shown he is capable of achieving the goals they so crave. The Dutchman said: “What we need besides Marcus Rashford is an extra player with goalscoring abilities, whether he comes from our own team or we have to sign one.”
This closing comment was seen as a nod to Greenwood’s situation.
If the investigation concludes that they will keep the player, a solution will have to be found – and immediately closing this gap for Ten Hag might not be the right step. Sending Greenwood to Europe may not be the worst outcome for everyone involved.