Manchester United are in trouble. In their last ten games, they’ve mustered just three wins and have lost to the likes of Aston Villa and West Ham.
The future looks bleak for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United and it remains to be seen whether the board will act over the international break.
A whole host of names have been linked with the job in recent weeks but with no natural successor available if Solskjaer is shown the exit door, it seems unlikely that United will appoint a long-term replacement until the summer.
This leaves the board with two choices; either stick by Solskjaer or appoint an interim manager until the summer.
If they were to appoint an interim, there’s no better candidate than former Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick. Not only would the German tactician be able to help United in the short-term, he could also move ‘upstairs’ so to speak once a long-term boss has been appointed where he would be able to try and fix the longstanding organisational issues with the club.
As a manager, Rangnick was tactically astute. He is known as ‘the godfather of gegenpressing’, the style of football with which Jurgen Klopp has found great success at Liverpool.
When Rangnick first began his coaching career, every team in Germany wanted to play 3-5-2, a formation that had brought the national team so much success. However, Rangnick thought this system was limited and so set out to find a new way of playing.
His search led him to AC Milan where he watched the Italian giants under the stewardship of Arrigo Sacchi, and suddenly he had the basis of what would become known as gegenpressing.
Rangnick spoke to ESPN about his revolutionary idea, saying: “Franz Beckenbauer set the benchmark for most teams in our country when he created a libero-sweeper position for himself.
“Franz himself even said in the mid-90s that you cannot play with a zone-marking back four line because German players will not understand how to play it. I asked myself, ‘why should German players be any less intelligent than those in Belgium, Spain or the Netherlands?’. For me, that was simply not logical.”
Rangnick has proven himself as a manager at Hannover, Schalke and RB Leipzig, meaning he’d have plenty of experience to call upon if he were to move to Old Trafford.
The German coach is both an innovator and a problem solver, and right now he would fit perfectly at United.
But it’s the long-term possibilities of having Rangnick at the club that should excite fans the most. The Red Bull project is one of the most successful in modern-day football and Rangnick has been pivotal to their success.
He single-handedly took the newly-formed RB Leipzig to the Bundesliga and put a lot of the foundations in place for their impressive recruitment.
Said recruitment saw the world-class talents of Sadio Mane, Joshua Kimmich, Timo Werner (the Leipzig version, not the Chelsea one) and other big names arrive at the club. Meanwhile, the recruitment of coaches and managers has been equally impressive.
Julian Nagelsmann, Marco Rose and Ralph Hasenhuttl have all made a name for themselves in European football after impressing under the Red Bull project and it seems like Rangnick could be an upgrade on United’s current director of football John Murtough.
Murtough could work alongside Rangnick as the pair look to develop a recruitment system, meaning United would be in safe hands moving forward.
When Leicester City (who were in League One just 12 years ago) have a better recruitment plan than you, you’re clearly doing something wrong.
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This is all speculation of course, but German journalist Christian Falk has stated that Rangnick would be interested in joining United if they were to approach him with an offer.
Given the club’s current situation, appointing an interim manager who would be able to steady the ship and then step aside as he concentrated his efforts on helping United return to the summit of European football could be the perfect way to go.
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