Mason Greenwood’s Manchester United deal is ticking down – will it be extended? – The Athletic

By Mark Critchley, Adam Crafton and more4h ago

While speaking to journalists in February upon the ratification of his deal to buy a minority stake in the club, Sir Jim Ratcliffe indicated that Manchester United would make a fresh decision over the future of Mason Greenwood.

The 22-year-old striker is on a season’s loan at La Liga outfit Getafe after it was decided last summer that he would resume his career away from Old Trafford.

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Greenwood had been the subject of an internal club investigation following a decision in February 2024 by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue its case against him for attempted rape, assault, and coercive control after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation. Greenwood denied all the allegations against him.

The expectation was that Greenwood would never play for United again. Then came Ratcliffe’s comments, leaving the door open for a return.

“It’s clear we have to make a decision,” Ratcliffe said. “The process will be to understand the facts, not the hype, and then try to come to a fair decision based on values — is he a good guy or not — and answer whether he could play sincerely for Manchester United well and would we be comfortable with it and would the fans be comfortable with it?”

Those remarks served as a reminder that much has changed at Old Trafford since the original decision was made last summer, not least the departure of the man who made it — United’s chief executive Richard Arnold.

But how much of the logic underpinning that original call on Greenwood has changed? The moral considerations surely remain the same, no matter the make-up of the club’s ownership.

Selling Greenwood would still be beneficial to United from a financial fair play perspective, too. He is a graduate of their youth academy, so any fee received would represent pure profit in the accounts and offer the club more headroom under spending regulations imposed by both the Premier League and UEFA, European football’s governing body.

There are also doubts over whether Greenwood would want to play for United again, if given the choice. Sources with an understanding of the player’s thinking, speaking anonymously to protect relationships, told The Athletic last month he would be reluctant to accept a chance to rejoin the squad and that he still has misgivings over how the club handled his case.

And so, although no final decision has been taken, the working assumption is still that Greenwood will be sold.

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But that’s not the only decision United have to make.

Questions remain over how and when any transfer would happen, particularly as Greenwood’s United contract is reaching the point where it would typically be renewed.

Greenwood’s deal runs to summer 2025, with the club retaining an option to extend it for a further year. Deciding against triggering that clause would mean the player leaving United as a free agent at the end of next season.

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Allowing Greenwood to enter the final year of his deal would also limit his value in the transfer market this summer. Potential buyers would be aware they could simply wait 12 months to sign him on a free transfer, while he could sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club as early as the next January window.

Some may argue that United should forgo a transfer fee entirely given the circumstances but, though Arnold is said to have been conscious of how the club making money out of Greenwood would look last summer, there has been little indication that is being considered at Old Trafford.

The alternative is for United to trigger the option, which protects Greenwood’s value and avoids the risk of losing him for nothing next summer. An extension would also give United a longer window to push through a sale, allowing them to recoup a fee until the summer of 2026.

At Getafe, there is a belief that United have already triggered that option.

Getafe would like to keep Greenwood, either in a permanent transfer or on loan for another season, and officials at the Spanish club have come away from talks with United with the understanding his contract at Old Trafford will run until 2026.

Greenwood celebrates scoring against Las Palmas in March (Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

This is disputed in Manchester. Senior figures at United insist that no such decision has been taken over Greenwood’s option and that no discussions have been held to that effect — either with the player, his family or any interested clubs.

There is said to be no urgency on this matter either, as United have until May 2025 to activate that option clause. They are not obliged to announce publicly if or when the extension has been triggered, but it is usually the case that a club would at least brief the media in that situation, which has not happened in this case.

United may yet receive an acceptable offer from a club wanting to buy Greenwood this summer and in that scenario, the question of whether to extend or not would be irrelevant.

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It is also in Getafe’s interest to suggest Greenwood’s option has been triggered. After all, it is their best hope of keeping him beyond the end of the season.

They would prefer to sign Greenwood permanently but there is an acceptance at Getafe that his performances during his loan have made that more difficult.

He has eight goals and five assists in 28 appearances across all competitions, attracting the attention of major European clubs, and figures at the southern Madrid club believe Greenwood wants to play Champions League football next year.

There is hope at Getafe that Greenwood could be convinced on sporting grounds if they can qualify for the Europa League next season, but Jose Bordalas’ side are 11th in the 20-team La Liga table with eight games to play, 11 points off the sixth place that could be enough to get into UEFA’s second-tier club competition. With six rivals also in the running for that spot, Getafe doing so looks unlikely.

Their best hope of keeping Greenwood for at least another season may be United triggering that one-year option, which would increase the chances of him going back to them on another loan.

United triggering the option would come with another significant benefit for Getafe.

As part of the loan deal, they have a 20 per cent sell-on clause for Greenwood, meaning they will profit from any sale by United. That clause was inserted to compensate Getafe for offering Greenwood the opportunity to play in one of Europe’s five major leagues late in last summer’s window, while also recognising the risk of taking on a player who had not played competitively in more than 18 months and whose signing would generate significant controversy.

An extension of Greenwood’s United contract would not only increase the chances of him staying on loan at Getafe but also their chances of benefitting from the 20 per cent sell-on at a higher fee when he makes a permanent move elsewhere.

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The decision on that option does not lie with Getafe or even Greenwood. It is United’s alone. And even if the deadline to trigger it remains more than a year away, choosing to do so now or in the coming weeks will have a material impact on how much they can demand for him in the summer market.

Moving to extend and, therefore, maximise Greenwood’s value would undoubtedly draw criticism in some quarters but it is a call that United will have to make one way or the other, perhaps before answering the question of whether he ever plays for them again.

(Additional contributor: Guillermo Rai)

 (Top photo: Oscar J Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

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