Manchester United get their pre-season underway today, albeit with several players missing due to their involvement in internationals in June.
There will also be another noteworthy absentee – Mason Greenwood – and plenty of United fans will be delighted with that news.
According to The Athletic, the club are yet to decide on Greenwood’s future despite the discontinuation of the case against him for attempted rape, assault and coercive control.
Man United have been conducting an investigation, and a resolution will reportedly be reached before the start of the Premier League season.
From a legal perspective, Greenwood has not been found guilty of a crime. However, the circumstances of how we reached this point are less clear.
Keeping Greenwood contracted to the club appears to be an option, creating the possibility he could be integrated back into the first-team squad.
Sending him out on loan is another option, as this would remove Greenwood from the intense scrutiny of playing for United.
A temporary switch to Serie A has been mooted, opening the door for the forward to get himself back up to speed before returning to Old Trafford.
However, United cannot afford to entertain any thoughts of welcoming Greenwood back into the fold – now or in the future.
An earlier story in The Athletic revealed the player has plenty of previous form for demonstrating questionable behaviour.
While this is not unusual for a young adult, it undoubtedly raises plenty of questions about his overall character.
There is also the issue of the club’s female fans to consider. What message would it send them if Greenwood is allowed to play for United?
Members of United’s women’s team do not want the forward to return to the club, which further complicates matters.
While Greenwood is perceived in law to be innocent, he comes with too much baggage.
If United feel a duty to support the 21-year-old’s ‘rehabilitation’, finding him somewhere else to play would be the most sensible course of action to take.
A club of United’s stature can ill-afford bad publicity while putting Greenwood back into the Premier League would place him under intense scrutiny.
Given the events of the past 18 months, Greenwood is a busted flush at Old Trafford. United must get him out of the club, and he needs to make a fresh start elsewhere.
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