Last off-season, Mason Greenwood was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, question mark surrounding Manchester United football club.
He’s a huge question mark again this off-season, but obviously there is one situation looming larger above all else- the ownership situation. Will the Glazer family stay on, and thus not sell the club?
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Championship Sunday, May 28, 4:30pm GMT, Old Trafford
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Will Sir Jim Ratcliffe purchase a majority share, and keep the Glazers around in a minority role? Will Sheikh Jassim and his Qatari consortium pull off a full a purchase in full, and with it a total takeover of the club?
Or will it be none of the above? Until this situation resolves itself first, nothing else of true significance can happen at Manchester United.
That includes the resolution of the Mason Greenwood situation. Actually, this reality encompasses the whole of the entire summer transfer window, which will be an extremely important one, to say the least.
Like everything else of importance at United, during the Glazer reign of terror, this takeover process is dragging out tediously.
We’ve seen numerous transfer sagas drag out far past the point of tedium, and the potential sale of the club might be the worst of all. The longer it drags on, the more it leaves Mason Greenwood in limbo.
Ditto for all the other players whose futures are uncertain. Tomorrow is Championship Sunday, which brings a match that is dead rubber against Fulham.
Then, a week from today, is the FA Cup Final against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
Basically, the offseason is already here, so it’s time to think about it.
You have heard the Greenwood tapes, which are haunting, disturbing, alarming and cringe-worthy. Obviously, those four adjectives are understating this situation, which is so much bigger than football.
The 21-year-old Englishman was charged with rape and assault in January 2022, and was subsequently dropped by his sponsors. Once these very serious criminal charges were made, United suspended Greenwood indefinitely.
The legal process has now run its course, with the charges against him officially dropped earlier this year. Yet we still don’t have an answer on whether or not he returns to become that which he was once deemed- the future of United’s attack.
The club is investigating him internally, and well, just like everything else that matters, it seems to be moving at a glacial pace.
According to reports, he has already resigned himself to the fact that he may never play for the team again. With that reality in mind, one has to wonder where Mason Greenwood might play football in 2023-24, or will he be forced to sit out the entire season?
There has been reported interest in him from clubs in both Italy and Turkey.
Had Greenwood been officially convicted, and not just charged, with these very violent sexual crimes, it would have probably given United an out to terminate his contract.
That seemingly won’t happen, so now the issue is no longer before the criminal courts, but instead now before the court of public opinion.
United immediately stopped selling his shirt, and otherwise promoting the player, as soon as the charges were brought to light. They know that reinstating him is bad look to say the least. They also know that he is a generational talent who fills in at their position of strongest need right now.
Mason Greenwood can play on the left wing, right wing, center forward and even as a false nine. The man they spent 100 million GBP on, Antony, has fallen well short of expectations thus far. The other young forward deemed to be the future of the attacking third, Jadon Sancho, is really struggling, on multiple levels right now.
Cristiano Ronaldo had to go, by any means necessary, and the idea of Wout Weghorst as a replacement was utterly laughable from day one.
Anthony Martial will likely leave this summer, and well, in short you have a ton of holes to fill in the final third.
Is it worth it to bring Mason Greenwood in however? Given the radioactive reputation that precedes him? Only the higher level brass at United can answer that.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.