Man Utd must axe Mason Greenwood this month despite Erik ten Hag's view on striker


Manchester United returned to training yesterday without Mason Greenwood. It is 155 days since United launched an internal investigation into the player after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped its attempted rape, assault and coercive control case.

He continues to work alone while United agonise over his future. He and they remain in limbo. In one sense it is commendable that United are being so thorough in making their decision over what to do with Greenwood but by now they must have examined every possible avenue.

Greenwood has not played a competitive game of football for 18 months. He is there at Old Trafford but not there. His continuing ghostly presence on the United payroll is doing no-one any good. There have been suggestions this week that a loan move to Italy could be on the cards.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma has been mentioned as a possible destination. It would represent one way out of the impasse. For Greenwood it would mean a fresh start away from the unforgiving judgement of opposition fans in England.

For United it would move on the problem and mean they would no longer be paying him £75,000 per week for nothing but bad publicity in return. However that option still leaves him as a United employee. And what the club needs to ask themselves is do they really want that? 

Erik ten Hag, who delivered a strong upturn in United’s fortunes and an end to the United trophy drought last season, is said to be open to the possibility of reintegrating Greenwood at some point. Ask a football manager if they would like a brilliant natural goalscorer to be added to their squad and they tend to answer in the affirmative.

On talent alone it is a no-brainer - particularly to a manager still over-reliant on the goals of Marcus Rashford. This call is above his pay grade though. It is on United’s chief executive Richard Arnold.

There are financial and sporting consequences to writing off a player once rated one of the finest young prospects in the English game, one capped by Gareth Southgate at the age of 18. But Arnold needs to think beyond the balance sheet.

It is not a straightforward situation - here is a player that has been on United’s books since he was six - but if he needs guidance he could always call Nike who dumped Greenwood from a great height when the scandal broke. The PR situation for them was toxic - as it would be for United if he played for them again.

The CPS’s decision in the Greenwood case makes it more complicated for United to move Greenwood on but does not stop them doing so. The conspiracy theory has been that United have been kicking the can down the road for the club’s new owners and whoever they install in their positions of influence to deal with.

But with a sale seemingly no closer, assistance on that front seems a long way off. Arnold needs to grasp the nettle and end the tawdry saga once and for all. The optics dictate that it would be best for all concerned if Greenwood was gone - and gone before next season kicks off.

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