Mason Greenwood
Suspended from training or playing - Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood AFP / Paul ELLIS

The fate of Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood has reportedly been decided following the conclusion of the club's internal investigation over attempted rape and assault charges that were brought against him last year.

According to the latest reports the 21-year-old will likely be reinstated into the club after having been suspended from playing and training since he was arrested in January 2022. The Sun claims that an announcement is imminent and that the player will be handed a "second chance" by club officials.

The news will come as a big relief for Greenwood, whose career has been put on hold for 18 months since an ex-girlfriend accused him of attempted sexual assault as well as coercive behaviour. He has since moved on with a new partner and the pair have welcomed their first child together just a few months ago.

However, his career has been stagnant for more than a year, and there were fears that he may never play in the top flight again following the backlash from the case.

What happened to the case?

The allegations first came to light after Greenwood's ex took to social media to claim that the young footballer had assaulted her and had subjected her to different forms of abuse throughout the course of their relationship. He was arrested in January 2022, and Manchester United immediately suspended him from club duties. His likeness was also pulled from all of the club's marketing materials and fans were even told that they can exchange shirts printed with his name and number for another player's kit at the club shop.

Greenwood was also dropped by sponsors like Nike and EA Sports, leading to personal losses worth millions of pounds. However, despite having been suspended, he was at least still being paid his full salary of £75,000-a-week from Manchester United.

This is perhaps another reason why the club is keen to finally make a decision on the saga. The player was formally charged in October last year, and was expected to stand trial later this year. However, prosecutors were forced to drop the case in February after several key witnesses withdrew their statements and refused to cooperate with the investigation. As such, a conviction became impossible.

However, because there was no actual acquittal, the Red Devils did not immediately allow Greenwood to rejoin his teammates. Instead, they conducted a lengthy internal investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations themselves.

Announcement expected following the FIFA Women's World Cup final

United's chief executive Richard Arnold has reportedly been presented with the results of the investigation, and he is set to make the final call on the matter. The Sun quoted a source saying: "This has been a long and difficult process for everyone involved, but it's nearing the end. The internal investigation is over and Mason is likely to be reinstated at Old Trafford."

The same unnamed source revealed that manager Erik ten Hag and the rest of the Manchester United squad are supporting Greenwood, and everyone can't wait to get back to work.

Despite this, it is still unclear if Greenwood will ultimately be reintegrated into the first-team this season, or if he will be sent out on a season-long loan. The player is believed to be against spending a year abroad, while United would rather not see the promising youngster playing for a Premier League rival.

Greenwood may end up training and playing with the reserves for a while if he is not sent out on loan. It is also a touchy subject and a decision to welcome him back to the first team may lead to massive backlash.

Greenwood's case has led to protests

It may be remembered that protests broke out on Monday after some fans caught wind of Greenwood's possible comeback in the near future. The Red Devils won their season-opener 1-0 against Wolves in the Premier League, but the victory was marred by protests coming from fans who are opposed to Greenwood's reinstatement.

It also has to be noted that the club promised to consult their women's team players Ella Toone and Mary Earps, who are with the Lionesses at the moment preparing for the Women's World Cup final against Spain.

It is understood that the women's team players have raised concerns about allowing Greenwood to return due to the nature of the allegations brought against him. This is perhaps why an announcement won't be made until early next week, when the final match between England and Spain would already be done and dusted.

The club released a statement to confirm the conclusion of the investigation

"We have heard from numerous people with direct involvement or knowledge of the case," said the club, pointing out that they have information that has not made it to the public, in case others might not understand why they have reached certain conclusions. They also emphasised that the "welfare of his alleged victim" was at the forefront of the investigation.

However, they pivoted to Greenwood and the player's future with the club. "We also have responsibilities to Mason as an employee, as a young person who has been with the club since the age of seven, and as a new father with a partner. The fact-finding phase of our investigation is now complete, and we are in the final stages of making a decision on Mason's future."

They denied that a decision has already been made, and claimed that an intense deliberation is still underway. There will be a few days wherein they can read the room to see the general public's reaction to the player's possible return.

"This has been a difficult case for everyone associated with Manchester United, and we understand the strong opinions it has provoked based on the partial evidence in the public domain," added the club, while continuing to ask for patience.