Erik ten Hag will face questions on Mason Greenwood’s Manchester United future on Friday lunchtime.
The United boss will hold his preview press conference for Saturday’s home game against Crystal Palace at midday and is certain to be asked about the forward’s future at Old Trafford.
England international Greenwood, 21, saw charges of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service on Thursday. It came just over a year after the forward was arrested.
However, United will now ‘conduct their own process before determining the next steps’ as they decide whether Greenwood should return to play for them.
The club said in a statement: ‘Manchester United notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that all charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped. The club will now conduct its own process before determining next steps. We will not make any further comment until that process is complete.’
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (left) is set to face questions about Mason Greenwood’s (right) future with the club after charges against the striker were dropped
Greenwood, 21, pictured arriving at court in November over the now dropped charges of attempted rape, assault and controlling and coercive behaviour
Greenwood himself said: ‘I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.’
Ten Hag will wish to focus on the Premier League encounter with Palace but he will be grilled on the Greenwood situation.
The forward has not played under Ten Hag – his last appearance was against West Ham in January last year, when Ralf Rangnick was in interim charge.
But Greenwood was listed among the under-21 players in United’s Premier League squad at the beginning of the season and his profile and biography remains on the official United website.
We should find out on Friday whether Greenwood is named in United’s UEFA Europa League squad for the knockout stages with a two-legged play-off with Barcelona coming up this month.
His biography on the club website makes no mention of the charges against him with the last update mentioning a new contract until 2025 he signed in 2021 and his passing of 100 appearances for the club.
Given Greenwood – who has a £70,000-a-week contract until 2025 with the option of a further year – no longer faces charges and the prospect of a trial, there is nothing legally stopping United from re-integrating him into the squad.
United are considering whether to keep Greenwood at the club or terminate his contract
Greenwood’s profile remains on United’s website despite the club having suspending him
The forward is listed alongside other United players on the first-team squad page
Greenwood was listed in the Under 21 (Contract and Scholars) section of United’s squad list for the Premier League at the beginning of the season
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless stated
Saturday Crystal Palace (H)
February 8 Leeds United (H)
February 12 Leeds United (A)
February 16 Barcelona (A)
Europa League play-off, first leg
February 19 Leicester City (H)
February 23 Barcelona (H)
Europa League play-off, second leg
Should they decide he does have a future at the club, fitness would clearly be an issue for a man who scored 35 goals in 129 matches but who has now not played for more than a year.
Well-placed sources believe United may look at paying up Greenwood’s contract and releasing him or seek to reach a financial settlement. Whether the player would have a legal argument against such a move is unclear.
Disrepute clauses are commonplace in football and employment law experts have told this newspaper that it would be difficult for Greenwood’s camp to argue that he did not bring the club into disrepute – despite no longer facing charges.
US sportswear giants Nike were quick to drop Greenwood when news of his arrest emerged and would be able to use a similar stance.
United could even seek legal action against the player, claiming that his actions left them no option other than to suspend him and triggered a subsequent drop in value.
The potential of a toxic reaction to Greenwood at grounds in the UK will also be a factor. Should United deem he has no future with the club a move abroad may be a likely escape route.
A loan switch overseas could also be on the cards. United may seek to pay the player up but retain his registration in order to attract a fee should he move elsewhere.
Greenwood was charged in October 2022 but on Thursday afternoon a decision was made by the CPS to discontinue prosecution in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
Manchester United have released a statement indicating they ‘will conduct their own process before determining next steps’ after Mason Greenwood saw charges dropped against him
The player, who has been capped once for the Three Lions, was first held in January over allegations relating to a young woman, after images and videos were posted online.
He was later suspended from United on full pay and removed from the FIFA 22 game.
A CPS spokesperson said: ‘We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review. In this case 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.
‘In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case. We have explained our decision to all parties. We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met.’
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