Many Manchester United employees feel a deep sense of shame that Mason Greenwood is expected to be retained by the club, though a sizeable number believe the forward should be welcomed back.

Greenwood’s future has been discussed regularly among staff members and the Guardian has been told almost all those who favour the 21-year-old’s return work on the football side of the operation.

The chief executive, Richard Arnold, will decide whether Greenwood can resume his career at United and a decision could be announced next week. Inside the club there is a sense it would represent a major surprise if the player were not to come back.

There is disquiet among employees at United’s handling of its internal review. The process has moved beyond seven months, frustrating staff, and on Wednesday a club statement asked for “patience as we work through the final stages”.

Those inside the club who want Greenwood to return take the view that he remains a young man and that there is a duty of care towards a player who has been at United since he was a child and has not been found guilty of anything unlawful.

Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 and in October of that year was charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Greenwood denied all the counts and criminal charges against him were dropped in February after key witnesses “withdrew their cooperation from the investigation”, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Greenwood has not played for United since January 2022 and has a contract to 2025, with the club having the option to extend for a further year.