Manchester United chased Ralf Rangnick after City mauling and he demanded a video analyst
Manchester United considered Ralf Rangnick as a viable option to takeover from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the wake of the club’s chastening 2-0 defeat to Man City earlier this month, The Athletic have revealed.
United have been on the hunt for an interim boss following Solskjaer’s sacking on Sunday, with Cristiano Ronaldo & Co languishing in eighth place in the Premier League amid a poor start to the campaign.
And The Athletic reports that the German’s credentials were being assessed after United’s derby defeat to Premier League champions City on November 6, with Solskjaer’s job under serious threat.
One week later, intermediaries were asked to ascertain the viability of Rangnick leaving his position as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow – a role he has held since July.
Direct contact with the German, dubbed The Professor, was made after United’s defeat at Vicarage Road, and Rangnick held talks with Murtough, chief executive Ed Woodward and managing director Richard Arnold.
Rangnick flew into London on Tuesday for face-to-face talks with United’s chiefs at the club’s Mayfair offices. This time, United’s chief negotiator Matt Judge accompanied Murtough, Woodward and Arnold to speak with the German.
Man United sounded out Ralf Rangnick as a possible interim boss after their defeat to City
Former United midfielder and now technical director Darren Fletcher was also involved in talks with the 63-year-old. The Scot was away with the squad for their Champions League clash with Villarreal, and discussed tactics and footballing philosophy with Rangnick over Zoom.
By Thursday morning, Rangnick had agreed a six-month deal to be the club’s interim manager until the end of the season, with a two-year consultancy role to follow.
Before being involved in football operations in Moscow, Rangnick held a similar position with RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg, helping the two new clubs reach the summit of their respective leagues.
While United were unable to land No 1 target Mauricio Pochettino – with PSG slamming the door shut on the notion of prising the Argentine away at this stage of the season – the Red Devils were keen on recruiting a manager that is ultra-technical and focused on tactics, rather than relying on motivational qualities to get the best out of the group as was showcased by Solskjaer.
United suffered a 2-0 defeat to arch rivals City and were miles off the pace at Old Trafford
Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to rescue his side as things went from bad to worse for United
Rangnick fulfilled that brief and the 63-year-old will meet and assess Solskjaer’s old backroom staff of Mike Phelan, Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick upon his arrival, with the trio kept on for the purposes of continuity, much to the bemusement of club legend Paul Scholes.
Former Schalke boss Rangnick has also demanded for his own video analyst to be brought in, alongside a trusted assistant. The Red Devils have taken no issue with these demands.
Due to work permit issues, Rangnick will not take charge for Sunday’s game against Chelsea. United are likely to go back in for Pochettino at the end of the season and Sportsmail understands that the Argentine is comfortable with the prospect of working with a sporting director, having done so in other roles.
According to The Athletic, United chiefs (pictured Ed Woodward) sounded out Rangnick after that defeat
Rangnick flew to England on Tuesday to hold talks with the club, and spoke to Darren Fletcher (left) over Zoom to discuss tactics and coaching philosophy
He has previously coached Stuttgart, Hannover, Hoffenheim and Schalke, having made his name by leading Ulm into the Bundesliga for the first time in their history.
Rangnick also had two stints in charge of RB Leipzig after being appointed as director of football in 2012 as the club rose to the top-flight from the fourth tier of German football.
He has only won one major trophy as a manager – the German Cup in 2011 with Schalke – but steered the same club to the Champions League semi-finals in 2011 when they lost 6-1 on aggregate to United.
Rangnick has a good relationship with the Old Trafford hierarchy having previously spoken to the club before they appointed Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. He also interviewed for the Everton job before Carlo Ancelotti took over at Goodison Park in December 2019.
Rangnick was known to football director John Murtough (left) who first sounded him out
Rangnick will also assess United’s coaching staff including Michael Carrick when he arrives
His first game in charge is likely to be against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday or Crystal Palace at home three days later, with Carrick continuing as caretaker until then after winning his first game in charge against Villarreal on Tuesday night.
In an interview with Coaches’ Voice, Rangnick explained how during his time as Leipzig and Salzburg technical director, he placed a huge emphasis on scouting and developing players. He stunned bosses when he laid out his plans to sell on players for double figures within two years of their arrival.
The 63-year-old prioritised signing younger players and recruited Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Kevin Kampl early on. He also focused on ‘club building’ rather than ‘team building’, attempting to form a stronger link between the club and its fans.
Relations at United between the club and fans have been fraught in recent years, with supporters storming Old Trafford late last season to protest the Glazers’ ownership in the wake of the European Super League farce.
The German has demanded that his own video analyst is employed when he takes the reins
Rangnick is credited with devising the Gegenpress and has proved an inspiration for Premier League managers Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
‘I was honoured when Jurgen Klopp suggested that I might be the best German coach,’ Rangnick told the same outlet. ‘He and I have known each other for over 20 years, and we certainly appreciate one another.
‘It’s common knowledge that we have a pretty similar idea of how football should be played, and I think that this is the reason he said those nice things about me
‘My Hoffenheim team played against Jurgen’s Borussia Dortmund back in 2008. We beat them 4-1 and Jurgen said a week later, before his next game, that our style was exactly the kind of football that he wanted to play with Dortmund.’
Rangnick also gave Chelsea boss Tuchel his first coaching role in football – as Under-15 coach at German side Ulm after he was forced into an early retirement through injury.