Man Utd set deadline for Mason Greenwood return decision with ‘rehab’ transfer considered

Man Utd set deadline for Mason Greenwood return decision with ‘rehab’ transfer considered

Mason Greenwood remains suspended by Manchester United but it appears that the Red Devils are edging towards a decision over whether he should return to the first-team fold under Erik ten Hag

Manchester United are close to deciding whether Mason Greenwood should ever play for them again.

United’s internal investigation into Greenwood will be concluded in the coming weeks, with the striker – currently suspended – to learn his fate before the start of the new season on August 14. When the first of United’s players returned to the club’s Carrington complex to begin pre-season training on Thursday, Greenwood was a notable absentee.

Although he was not expected to return until his future has been resolved, Greenwood’s continued absence sharpened the focus back on the decision United must make regarding one of the most gifted players of his generation. Greenwood has not played for United since January 2022.

United acted decisively, suspending Greenwood immediately. The forward was arrested and subsequently charged with assault, attempted rape and coercive and controlling behaviour. Although all charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service in February, United said Greenwood would remain suspended, pending the outcome of an internal club investigation.

It is now 155 days since that investigation was launched, although it is understood a final decision on Greenwood was never going to be made before the end of last season. United did not want the Greenwood situation to overshadow or disrupt their season, but since it finished more than a month ago, discussions over the 21-year-old have intensified.

Led by United chief executive Richard Arnold, those talks have also involved boss Erik ten Hag, football director John Murtough and owners the Glazers, as well as stakeholders including commercial partners, although it is not known if Greenwood and his representatives have been asked to co-operate with the investigation.

Although Ten Hag is understood to have become frustrated at the length of time the investigation has taken, wanting to know if Greenwood will be a part of his squad next season, he is said to respect the sensitive nature of the case and the need for due process to take its course.

What is certain is that Greenwood’s predicament will not impact United’s transfer strategy this summer, with the club continuing to pursue a striker and a goalkeeper, irrespective of what happens with him.

Ultimately, United know whatever decision they make on Greenwood, they will be criticised, given the sensitive nature of the allegations initially made against him, despite the dropping of charges.

One option under consideration is to send Greenwood out on loan, to enable him to begin his rehabilitation away from the intense scrutiny of United and for the club to assess the public reaction to him once he makes his return to competitive action.

Opinion is said to be divided at United as to what course of action to take with Greenwood, with those entrusted with making the final decision acutely aware of the backlash they will face, whatever path they commit to taking.

That is why it has been such an exhaustive process, involving so many parties, with United’s global reputation on the line as much as Greenwood’s career.

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