Mason Greenwood could make shock Manchester United return, hints Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Mason Greenwood could be welcomed back to Manchester United, new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has suggested, after the petrochemicals billionaire finally completed his purchase of a quarter of the club.

Greenwood was charged with attempted rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and controlling and coercive behaviour following social media posts which appeared to reveal the now 22-year-old forcing himself upon a woman, before those charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service last February.

United carried out their own internal investigation and concluded by mutual agreement with the player that his career should continue “away from Old Trafford”.

That appeared to signal the end of Greenwood’s Old Trafford career, having joined United aged six, and he moved to Spanish club Getafe on loan last summer, for whom he has made 25 appearances.

Yet Ratcliffe, whose stake in United was rubber-stamped on Tuesday, has not ruled out the prospect of Greenwood returning to play for the club, saying a decision must be made based on “the club’s values”.

“It’s a fresh decision,” Ratcliffe said about the future of Greenwood, who still has more than a year left on his United contract. “I can talk about the principle. I am not going to talk about Mason. I am familiar with it. The principle is the important one. We will have other issues going forwards.

“You are dealing with young people who have not always been brought up in the best circumstances, who have a lot of money and they don’t always have the guidance they should have.

“What we need to do when we have issues like that is understand real effects, not the hype. Then we need to make a fair decision in the light of the club’s values. That’s what we need to do and that’s how we will deal with it.”

Reflecting on his completed deal to buy into the club, Ratcliffe said: “To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility. This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans.

“Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

Ratcliffe has agreed to pay $33 (£26) per share for a quarter of the Class A shares, as well as paying that price for 25 per cent of the Class B shares held by the Glazer family. Each Class B shares confers 10 times as many votes as a Class A share.

The deal was announced on Christmas Eve and the agreement to buy a 27.7 per cent stake in the club also includes investing an additional $300m (£237m) into the club’s infrastructure, taking the total investment to £1.25bn.