Manchester United needed a new manager after parting ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but it looks like they have finally got their man.
The MEN Sport understands that German manager Ralf Rangnick is set to join the club as interim manager on a six-month basis before staying on for a further two years in a consultancy role where he will be involved heavily in the club’s decision making.
This will most likely include the recruitment of staff but also the recruitment of players and in the short term with the January window fast approaching.
Rangnick is known as the godfather of gegenpressing, so some of the options he will have at his disposal in the United squad will not be up to scratch especially in terms of solidity in the midfield.
The German will need options who are good at pressing and allow for him to implement his style easily, given that gegenpressing is the tactic of choice in the Bundesliga and also his prior connections with the league, it could mean he looks to Germany in order to make some shrewd acquisitions.
Here are four players who he could bring to Old Trafford in January:
Starting off the conversation with a player that doesn’t really adhere to the rule that ‘he needs to be good at pressing’ but instead allows for a more stable option to be played alongside Fred.
Grillitsch currently plies his trade at Hoffenheim and is out of contract at the end of the season so could be picked up for a small fee. He ranks low in pressures, but Rangnick’s style isn’t all about pressing, it’s about getting the ball forward quickly.
The 26-year-old Austrian midfielder would do this, he is an excellent ball progressor both with the ball at his feet and also in his passing. He averages 6.73 progressive passes per 90 minutes played and also 6.19 progressive carries.
United fans may remember him being linked to Tottenham Hotspur a few seasons ago as a replacement for Moussa Dembele, though a move never came to fruition, going forward he shares many traits with the Belgian.
He is also solid defensively, averaging 2.31 tackles per 90 minutes and 2.85 interceptions, the latter putting him in the 99th percentile of all players (that’s incredibly good).
Overall he would fit in perfectly next to Fred and would allow a solid base to allow the Brazilian to go forward and press the opponent.
Onto another defensive midfielder, as it would have been the main issue for any manager coming in, not just Rangnick, and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Dijibril Sow may just be another underrated gem that Rangnick could mould into the perfect midfielder for United.
The 24-year-old has been part of a Frankfurt side that has been underperforming so far this season, but this is through no fault of his own as the club are struggling to take their chances upfront, this could present an opportunity for United to extract the player.
Like Grillitch, Sow is a solid defensive option averaging 2.5 tackles per 90 minutes played and 2.35 interceptions, but he also presses more than the Austrian, with around 20.43 average pressures per 90.
He would still have areas to improve his game but given he is used to the style of football that Rangnick wants to play he would be invaluable. In terms of options outside the Bundesliga for this position, Boubacar Kamara is still a solid choice and also Pape Gueye, both of which who currently plays for Marseille in Ligue 1.
Rangnick brought Mukiele to RB Leipzig in 2018, and with his contract expiring in 2022, it would be a shrewd move to bring the player to Old Trafford in January.
Having learned his trade and developed at Leipzig he has already been instilled with the style of play Rangnick would want to implement at the club and he would work well alongside Wan-Bissaka to lock down that right-hand side.
The player completes 5.21 progressive passes per 90 minutes played which is quite high for his position but he also is solid defensively as well.
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One of the major benefits Mukiele has is that he is a presence, he is very tall and wins 3.29 aerial duels per 90 and also gets stuck in going forward.
Other options that Rangnick could look to at right-back as well are Ajax’s Noussair Mazraoui who would offer more going forward and Norwich’s Max Aarons however the latter would be much more expensive.
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