Marseille mayor tells club not to sign Man United’s Greenwood

The mayor of Marseille has told Olympique de Marseille not to sign Manchester United‘s Mason Greenwood, calling the forward’s alleged past behaviour “unspeakable,” after sources told ESPN the clubs have reached an agreement over a permanent transfer for the 22-year-old.

Greenwood spent last season on loan at Getafe. He has not played for United since being suspended by the club in January 2022 after being arrested on suspicion of rape and assault, with Greater Manchester Police confirming the existence of “social media images and videos posted by a woman reporting incidents of physical violence.”

The one-time England international was subsequently charged with attempted rape, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, although the charges were later dropped due to the withdrawal of key witnesses and the announcement that “new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”

“Greenwood’s behaviour is unspeakable, unacceptable,” Marseille Mayor Benoît Payan told French radio station RMC on Tuesday. “Hitting his wife … I saw images that deeply shocked me. Massacring his wife in this way is unbecoming of a man, and he cannot have his place on this team.

“The values ​​of OM and Marseille are anything but that in fact. It’s a shame. I will ask [Marseille president] Pablo Longoria not to recruit Greenwood. I don’t want my club to be covered with the shame of someone who hits his wife.”

Sources have told ESPN that Marseille have agreed to deal worth £26.7m ($35m), including add-ons plus a substantial sell-on clause, to sign Greenwood.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Marseille manager Roberto De Zerbi said he would hold no prejudice against Greenwood because of his past:

“Mason is a world-class player, but we have not recruited him yet. I don’t know what happened, but I am not used to get involved in my players’ private life. But if he comes here, you have to know that I treat all my players like my sons. I can tell them off in private, but I would never attack them in public.”

Greenwood scored eight goals while on loan at Getafe last season, as well as recording six assists.