Manchester United bosses were forced to hold crisis talks following an almighty backlash to reports they were set to reintegrate Mason Greenwood into the squad.
The club announced on Monday the 21-year-old would not play for United again, after concluding an internal investigation into his behaviour following his arrest back in January 2022.
Charges of attempted rape, assault and coercive control against Greenwood were dropped in February this year. And although United insisted last week they were yet to decide whether or not to bed him back into the squad, detailed plans for his reintegration had been drawn up, suggesting the club did in fact intend to keep him on.
But according to The Athletic, the backlash to said revelation was so fierce the Red Devils were forced to perform a dramatic U-turn.
READ MORE: Mason Greenwood axed from Man Utd and will not return to club after investigation
On Friday afternoon, three days after news of plans to reintegrate Greenwood broke, season-ticket holders, fans, supporters’ groups, members of parliament and various charities had all blown a gasket, with the club receiving hundreds of concerned messages from upset supporters.
That same evening, United’s most senior decision-makers held a series of crisis meetings, and with their reintegration plans in tatters, they drew up new ones for an exit strategy.
It's understood they debated loaning Greenwood out, selling him, or simply cutting ties with him – though they acknowledged the latter option would present legal challenges given that, following the conclusion of their internal investigation, they do not believe they have the grounds to terminate his contract.
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In the end, the club decided they would collaborate with the player to find him a new club, whether that be an immediate sale, or an initial loan, which leads to an eventual sale.
Greenwood broke his silence on the matter on Monday following United's decision, saying in a statement: " I understand that people will judge me because of what they have seen and heard on social media, and I know people will think the worst.
"I was brought up to know that violence or abuse in any relationship is wrong, I did not do the things I was accused of, and in February I was cleared of all charges. However, I fully accept I made mistakes in my relationship, and I take my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post.
"Today's decision has been part of a collaborative process between Manchester United, my family and me. The best decision for us all, is for me to continue my football career away from Old Trafford, where my presence will not be a distraction for the club."
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