What next for Mason Greenwood?

After months in limbo, Manchester United announced through a statement released on social media Tuesday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with striker Mason Greenwood. The decision came after months of uncertainty surrounding Greenwood’s future following allegations against him in January 2022.

Greenwood, 20, was first suspended by United after being arrested on suspicion of attempted rape, assault, and controlling and coercive behaviour. However, charges against the player were eventually dropped by authorities in April. However, Greenwood remained suspended by United as the club conducted its internal investigation.

According to a report by The Athletic in mid-August, United had planned to reintegrate Greenwood back into the first-team squad once he could resume playing. However, this potential decision was met with swift backlash from fans online. In light of the strong reaction, United has permanently cut ties with the young English striker. The club stated that both parties agree Greenwood’s career and family would be better served continuing away from Manchester.

“Mason and his family feel that being away from Manchester is best for them and the player. This mutual decision allows Mason time and space to continue his rehabilitation,” the club said.

While Greenwood will no longer wear United red, his playing future remains uncertain. There has been reported interest from clubs in the EFL Championship, Italy, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Championship sides are said to be considering offering Greenwood a contract.

However, any club that looks to sign Greenwood still risks significant backlash as the allegations against him remain firmly in the public spotlight, despite charges being dropped. While Greenwood is legally innocent, the court of public opinion often does not follow the same standards as the legal system. The seriousness of the allegations and their publicity means many fans will likely continue viewing Greenwood as tainted. Sponsorship issues may also arise for clubs should they sign someone with his baggage. Even if Greenwood is not found guilty in a court of law, clubs know the PR repercussions could be severe if they offer him a lifeline. The safer option would be to avoid the controversial young striker until more time has passed.

For Manchester United, parting ways with Greenwood allows the club to move on from an extremely disturbing chapter in its recent history. While charges were dropped, the allegations alone created a major black eye for United’s reputation. Manager Erik ten Hag has been eager to reset the culture and rebuild the United squad in his first season. Offloading Greenwood gets rid of what could have been an ongoing distraction and public relations nightmare.

United can back up its strong condemnation of violence by cutting ties for good. The club gains credit for taking a firm stance rather than having the appearance of putting football first. Public perception of the club’s values is critical in the post-Ronaldo era Ten Hag is ushering in. Getting Greenwood’s saga firmly in the rearview mirror is best for all parties. The club has said it will support his rehabilitation and career development, not while he is a United player. A clean break now allows everyone to move forward.

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