Mason Greenwood ‘is too toxic for Saudi’ as Steven Gerrard DENIES move – and José Mourinho ‘doesn’t want him’
MANCHESTER United exile Mason Greenwood is facing two snubs with Steven Gerrard rejecting a potential move to Saudi Arabia and Jose Mourinho also not wanting him.
The ex-England striker has been linked with a possible transfer to Saudi club Al-Ettifaq, now managed by Liverpool legend Gerrard.
There has also been talk of a reunion with former United boss Mourinho, now in charge of Italy’s Serie A side AS Roma.
Yet Gerrard has moved to deny any interest in the player after yesterday’s announcement Greenwood would be leaving Old Trafford, amid suggestions the player is “too toxic” for Saudi Arabia.
Gerrard, who took over at Al-Ettifaq last month, posted an Instagram story branding reports of a Greenwood move “fake news”.
And Italian outlet Il Tempo, via Roma Press, says Mourinho and Roma have no interest in being associated with Greenwood.
Saudi clubs were said to be considering signing Greenwood but now others as well as Al-Ettifaq are reportedly backing away.
Greenwood hasn’t played for United since his arrest in January last year on suspicion of attempted rape, assault and coercive control.
He remained suspended by the club despite all charges against him being dropped in February.
United announced yesterday a “collaborative decision” with Greenwood that he would depart.
They did not say whether his £75,000-a-week contract would be terminated or whether he would be sold or loaned out.
Greenwood issued a statement saying he had “made mistakes”.
United now face a scramble to get rid of Greenwood by the end of this month or face losing millions.
Football’s summer transfer window closes on September 1 – and if no one has signed him by then, United could have to pay Greenwood millions to cancel his contract which is due to expire in 2025.
Yet they could go beyond the deadline if a Saudi club goes for Greenwood because their window runs until September 20.
Recent Saudi league recruits include ex-United colleague Cristiano Ronaldo, France striker Karim Benzema from Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar.
Al-Ettifaq have swooped this summer for England midfielder Jordan Henderson from Liverpool, now being paid £700,000 per week.
Greenwood has also been linked with a move to some of Turkey’s leading clubs including Galatasaray and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Among those welcoming the decision by United to cut ties with Greenwood have been ex-England and United defender Gary Neville.
But the Sky Sports pundit also called the club’s handling “horrible”.
The BBC’s Match Of The Day presenter and ex-England captain Gary Lineker described Greenwood’s exit as an “inevitable and right” end to an “untenable situation”.
Meanwhile, women’s charities urged football clubs to be better at dealing with similar situations.
Channel 4’s Countdown co-host and Strictly Come Dancing star Rachel Riley last week threatened to stop supporting United if Greenwood was allowed to return.
The lifelong Red Devils fan today welcomed his exit but said the club had “handled this appallingly”.
Greenwood’s last game for the Red Devils came on January 22, 2022, in a 1-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United.
The Crown Prosecution Service charged him in October last year and he was scheduled to go on trial this November.
But the case was withdrawn on February 2 after Greenwood’s alleged victim and 12 more witnesses declined to co-operate.
Greenwood, born in Bradford in West Yorkshire, joined United aged six and went on to score 35 goals in 129 games for the club.
England manager Gareth Southgate gave him his international debut as a late sub against Iceland in September 2020, his solitary cap.
Greenwood first appeared for the Red Devils’ senior side in a July 2018 pre-season friendly in the US, when Mourinho was manager.
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