sport news Manchester United launch internal investigation to decide Mason Greenwood's ... trends now
Manchester United have launched an internal investigation which will decide the future of Mason Greenwood - after charges of attempted rape and assault against the England striker were dramatically dropped.
The 21-year-old was arrested in January 2022 and suspended on full pay by the club a short time later after videos and images were posted online.
However, in a bombshell statement released on Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service announced the subsequent charges had been discarded after 'key witnesses' withdrew their involvement.
It leaves Old Trafford officials with a major headache ahead of a run-in to the end of a season on which they are fighting for honours on four fronts.
More than three hours after the news was made public, United released a short statement. It read: '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 have released a statement indicating they 'will conduct their own process before determining next steps' after Mason Greenwood saw charges dropped against him
That probe will buy the club time and a decision on Greenwood will follow at its conclusion. The player will not return to training or playing while it is ongoing. No timeframe has been set but United will face intense pressure to complete it.
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.
Premier League rules state that Greenwood is classed as an Under 21, and so he did not have to be registered in the 25-man squad following the closure of the transfer window.
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