Manchester United players have reportedly held what is described as a secret meeting with Mason Greenwood as the club decides whether to welcome the attacker back into the fray.
The 21-year-old England international has been asked to stay away from the club while it conducts an internal investigation into his conduct. And while he has been cleared by a criminal court of the attempted rape charges against him, any return into the Red Devils fold would cause serious controversy.
The Crown Prosection Service confirmed at the start of the month that the withdrawal of key witnesses and new evidence meant there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”. And as a result they had “a duty to stop the case”.
However, his return to the United ranks remains very much up in the air.
According to The Times, his potential return to the club to the club has divided the men’s squad. To that end, the newspaper claims some senior players hold what is described as ‘stark concerns’. Female staff members also hold similar worries, while a number of United’s commercial partners are also keeping a close watch on the situation.
The Manchester United Women’s team, currently top of the WSL, are also reportedly ‘deeply uncomfortable’ with Greenwood’s potential return.
Despite currently being asked to stay away from the club, Greenwood has been able to meet with some of United’s players.
And, according to The Sun, Greenwood has met with a group of them in secret and away from their training ground.
United ‘split’ over Mason Greenwood return
Greenwood hopes to use the meetings to rekindle his United career. And in an effort to win some backing, he hopes to smooth over his chances of a return to the first-team fold.
Per the report, Greenwood has reached out to some of those players, some of whom he has known since his days in the club’s academy.
And they have met him in private to hear him out and make up their own minds about his potential return and the impact it would have both on and off the field.
However, the club still reportedly remain very much divided over his return. Reports earlier this week revealed United will canvass opinion from leadership groups from both the men’s and women’s team before reaching a decision.
Whatever decision they come to, however, will be fraught with controversy.
The 21-year-old attacker still has two-and-a-half years remaining on his deal at Old Trafford. And prior to his arrest, he was emerging as a player of genuine quality under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
To that end, he has scored 35 goals in 129 appearances since breaking through in the 2018/19 season.
Speaking after the case against was dropped, Greenwood said: “I am relieved this matter is now over. I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support.”
Move abroad not out the question for Greenwood
Should United decide against the reintroduction of Greenwood, he will be free to resume his career elsewhere.
However, rather than play in England, reports are growing that the attacker couldm look to rekindle his move overseas.
It was initially suggested a move to China could be on the cards.
However, reports earlier this week suggested a move to Turkey has now emerged as possible option. According to reports, Fenerbahce are the club most likely to take on the Englishman if he becomes a free agent.
And there are claims the Turkish giants are willing to face the criticism such a controversial move would bring.
Fotospor acknowledges that any deal would come with a serious backlash. However, they report it is a risk they are willing to take.
Fener haven’t won a league title since 2014, despite some big-name signings in recent years. And manager Jorge Jesus is looking to bolster his squad in the summer in an attempt to boost their chances.
Their attacking options currently contain three former Premier League players in Enner Valencia, Michy Batsuayi and Joshua King. So in that regard, he could provide some good competition for them.
However, the player’s first priority is to find out where he stands with United. And only then can he begin planning for the next phase of his career.