Mason Greenwood has been told he will not return to Manchester United training this season as the club continues its internal investigation into his arrest on rape charges last year.
The forward has been suspended by the club since January 2022 when allegations of attempted rape and assault against his partner first surfaced on social media. Greenwood was subsequently arrested by police investigating those incidents.
That October, the 21-year-old was formally charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
However, last month, those charges were dropped by Greater Manchester Police.
Their statement at the time explained that this was due to “a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”
Will Mason Greenwood return to Manchester United?
Per a report from Matt Hughes of the Daily Mail, Greenwood has ‘held extensive talks with United officials in recent weeks’ with a view to returning to the club.
The player is also understood to have insisted that he wants to see out his £70,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, which runs until June 2025. He has been paid his salary, in full, throughout his suspension.
Despite Greenwood’s pleas, the club are refusing to rush their ongoing investigation into the circumstances and behaviour that led to his arrest. In his report, Hughes states that the player ‘has been told he will not return to training at United until next season at the earliest’.
Hughes admits the club are ‘grappling with a difficult ethical, human, commercial and financial dilemma regarding Greenwood’, with there also being ‘an acknowledgement that making a controversial decision in the next two months could disrupt their push for Champions League qualification and campaigns in the FA Cup and Europa League’.
United may yet decide to cut ties with Greenwood entirely, even if it means paying off the remainder of his contract, believed to be worth around £8.1m.
Internally, the club are said to have ‘concerns over potential damage to the club’s reputation’ should the player be allowed to resume his career at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
Greenwood was dumped by sponsors including Nike, EA Sports and Cadbury when the allegations against him emerged, while United suspended sales of his replica shirt. He is, though, still listed alongside his number 11 squad number on the club’s website.
How do Man Utd’s players and staff feel about Greenwood returning to the club?
While Hughes states that some figures within United’s football department feel ‘he should be given a second chance’, others think very differently about the situation.
The club’s women’s team were reported last month to have ‘serious concerns’ over his potential return, with that opinion being shared by a number of the men’s side as well.
Although he has spoken to Greenwood on the phone since the charges against him were dropped, United boss Erik ten Hag has refused to make any meaningful comment about the player’s future when quizzed by the media, presumably preferring to wait for the outcome of the club’s investigation.
It now seems that outcome with be delayed until the summer, at least.