Mason Greenwood will struggle to swap Manchester United for a lucrative contract in Saudi Arabia as an insider has revealed their ‘surprise’ about such a transfer going ahead.
On Monday, Man Utd finally announced their decision after a long investigation into Greenwood’s actions. They decided to end his spell at Old Trafford due to the ‘difficulty’ of him playing for the club again. However, the statement added that the club had found the 21-year-old ‘did not commit the offences’ for which he was originally charged.
Greenwood soon released his own statement responding to his Man Utd departure. He said ‘I did not do the things I was accused of’, though he did admit to making mistakes in his relationship.
While Man Utd have ultimately decided to cut ties with Greenwood, they have announced they will help him to find a new club, no matter how long it takes.
Attention has now turned to where the attacker might go next. He has previously been linked with moves to Italy and Turkey.
Earlier on Tuesday, The Sun suggested Greenwood might actually end up playing in Saudi Arabia, with Al Ettifaq rumoured to be interested in him.
Such a move would see Greenwood play under legendary former midfielder Steven Gerrard, and operate alongside ex-Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
The report added that the one-time England international could be handed a huge contract worth £10million a year to become the latest player to swap Europe for the Middle East. Plenty of top stars have done so already this summer, including Karim Benzema, Neymar, N’Golo Kante, Sadio Mane, Fabinho and Ruben Neves.
Mason Greenwood unlikely to link up with Gerrard – report
However, Greenwood’s potential move to Al Ettifaq has now been shut down. BBC Sport cite one of their Saudi Pro League sources as saying that the transfer would be ‘very surprising’, given the rise of women’s football in the country.
On Friday, the first female vice-president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), Lamia Bahaian, said that women’s football in Saudi is ‘breaking records’.
SAFF have seen an 86 per cent rise in the amount of female footballers who are registered in the past 12 months. There has also been a 56 per cent increase in the number of female-only clubs across the nation.
The source added: “The government have created a women’s league, which is about to start its second season on 11 October. That is also an important difference because it is being seen as for the whole community.
“That is an incredible change, women’s football was totally frowned upon; now there is a national team with a FIFA ranking.
“Women are playing without head coverings and there are male fans in the stands, that is a big cultural shift.”
It seems Greenwood will have to start looking at a different league to try and get his career back up and running, with Saudi Arabia no longer an option.