sport news Manchester United's fears become reality as charges against Mason Greenwood ... trends now
Having spent the last couple of months seeking a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, in any other circumstances the return of Mason Greenwood could be seen as welcome news for Manchester United.
A rising star raised in the traditions of the club, an established first-team regular and a young man widely regarded as the best finisher at Old Trafford, who better to step into Ronaldo’s shoes following his acrimonious exit? In that sense, Greenwood certainly seems a more suitable fit than Wout Weghorst, the 6ft 6in Dutchman signed on loan from Burnley last month to help lead United’s attack.
In reality, however, Greenwood’s potential availability after attempted rape and assault charges were dropped against him on Thursday is a nightmare scenario for United as they attempt to navigate a moral minefield. In the year since he was first arrested, the club have prepared for life without him to the point of effectively writing off an asset who was valued at close to £134million in some quarters just a month earlier.
Judging by some of the transfer fees paid in the January window, Greenwood’s value could have been even greater than that now if he had continued on the same trajectory. But the fact is, it didn’t. Greenwood’s gilded career ground to shuddering halt the moment police knocked on his door in January 2022.
Over the course of the last 12 months, club sources have told Sportsmail that the worst possible outcome would be for the charges against Greenwood to be dropped or for the case to go to court and he be found not guilty. At lunchtime on Thursday, United’s worst fears became reality with confirmation from the Crown Prosecution Service that no further action will be taken against him.
Charges were dropped against Mason Greenwood, creating an issue for Manchester United
While Greenwood no longer faces any charges, it would be wrong to say that he is not damaged goods. The leaked audio file that began this whole unfortunate chain of events tarnished his reputation, and that of his club and sponsors, from the very start. It was enough for Nike to swiftly sever ties with the youngster without compensation following his arrest due to reputational damage and loss of commercial value.
Talks were already underway over a new deal that would have been worth millions. All trace of him disappeared from United’s online merchandise shop and versions of FIFA ‘22 while Cadbury, one of United’s official partners, said it would not use him in any marketing products while the allegations were being investigated.
In United’s case, one of the aims of the internal investigation launched yesterday (thurs) will be to determine if he has brought the club into disrepute to the extent that his £70,000-a-week