Soccer

Manchester United 'reach an agreement with Ralf Rangnick over interim job'


Manchester United have reached an agreement with Ralf Rangnick to become the club’s new interim boss until the end of the season, before taking on a two-year consultancy role at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last Sunday following their 4-1 hammering by Watford, with the club languishing in eighth position in the league table. 

United had conducted a search for a new interim boss to take the reins until the end of the season, with Rangnick among a shortlist of candidates including Rudi Garcia, Lucien Favre, Paulo Fonseca and Ernesto Valverde. 

United sources have confirmed they are in discussions with Rangnick but say a deal has yet to be finalised with his club Lokomotiv Moscow.

United and Rangnick, who only started work with the Russian club on a three-year contract in July, are both keen to be respectful to Lokomotiv who have a Europa League game at home to Lazio on Thursday night.

The 63-year-old has spoken to United in the past before they appointed Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, and also had an interview at Everton before Carlo Ancelotti took over as manager at Goodison Park.

It’s understood that plans to keep Rangnick on at Old Trafford for a further two years in a consultancy role would not be an issue for Mauricio Pochettino if the Argentine is appointed as permanent boss in the summer. 

Pochettino has worked under sporting directors at Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain, and would be comfortable with a similar set-up at United.  

Manchester United have reached an agreement to name Ralf Rangnick interim manager

Manchester United have reached an agreement to name Ralf Rangnick interim manager 

Mauricio Pochettino is the No 1 target to ultimately replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next summer

Mauricio Pochettino is the No 1 target to ultimately replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next summer

Regarded as the ‘Godfather of German football’, Rangnick’s modern coaching has revolutionised the game in his homeland. He will take up a two-year consultancy role once his six-month stint in charge comes to an end.  

Rangnick will not be in charge for Sunday’s trip to Chelsea due to work permit reasons. The 63-year-old has previously managed Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

He has more recently taken up roles as director of football at Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig before moving to Russia. He also had a stint as Leipzig boss.  

Rangnick has a track record of developing youngsters and laid the foundations at Salzburg and Leipzig for the likes of Erling Haaland, Timo Werner and Dayot Upamecano to flourish. 

United have struck terms with Rangnick, who will take a consultancy role after his stint ends

United have struck terms with Rangnick, who will take a consultancy role after his stint ends

Rangnick has held talks with United before and was the club's top choice for the interim role

Rangnick has held talks with United before and was the club’s top choice for the interim role

Rangnick is known as the 'Godfather of German football' and is said to have inspired Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (right)

Rangnick is known as the ‘Godfather of German football’ and is said to have inspired Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (right) 

While United have experienced players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, the Red Devils boast a relatively young squad with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood still in the early stages of their careers. 

It remains to be seen whether Rangnick opts to keep hold of Solskjaer’s backroom staff who did not leave with the Norwegian over the weekend.

Kieran McKenna, Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick are still at Old Trafford – with the latter overseeing United’s 2-0 win over Villarreal in midweek. 

Rangnick will be in charge until the end of the season

Solskjaer's former assistant Michael Carrick was in charge for the Villarreal game

It remains to be seen whether Rangnick (left) keeps hold of Solskjaer’s old staff, including Michael Carrick (right)

United have opted to appoint an interim boss after acknowledging that landing their prime target – Mauricio Pochettino – is too difficult at this stage. 

Although PSG on Wednesday denied that an official approach for Pochettino has been rejected, Sportsmail understands United had tried to discreetly ascertain through a third party whether a move to install the former Tottenham boss as permanent manager as soon as possible would be a realistic option. 

However, PSG have refused to let the Argentine depart mid-season and disrupt their campaign, although he is expected to re-emerge as a leading candidate for the United job in the summer, once Rangnick’s term ends.

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.

Rangnick boasts an impressive track record with youngsters which will be crucial for the development of Marcus Rashford (L) and Mason Greenwood (R)

Rangnick boasts an impressive track record with youngsters which will be crucial for the development of Marcus Rashford (L) and Mason Greenwood (R)

Jadon Sancho has struggled to make an impact but will hope to make his mark under Rangnick

Jadon Sancho has struggled to make an impact but will hope to make his mark under Rangnick

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 face.

Nicknamed ‘The Professor’, 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 Jürgen 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.

Rangnick was responsible for recruiting Sadio Mane at Salzburg and selling on for a big profit

Rangnick was responsible for recruiting Sadio Mane at Salzburg and selling on for a big profit

The 63-year-old also gave Thomas Tuchel his first job in football - as Under 15 coach at Ulm

The 63-year-old also gave Thomas Tuchel his first job in football – as Under 15 coach at Ulm

‘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 Jürgen’s Borussia Dortmund back in 2008. We beat them 4-1 and Jürgen 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.  

Although committing to two separate managerial appointments is a peculiar strategy, the Old Trafford hierarchy are said to be satisfied that an interim would provide stability and momentum while giving them the freedom to install a permanent replacement at the end of the season.

It also suggests that United know their preferred target will not be available until the summer — whether that is Pochettino or someone else. Ideally, they would have kept Solskjaer in charge until then but United’s alarming dip in form forced the club into a change of plan. 

His focus is on 'club building' rather than 'team building', and his expertise could be useful with United fans frustrated with the Glazers' ownership

His focus is on ‘club building’ rather than ‘team building’, and his expertise could be useful with United fans frustrated with the Glazers’ ownership

‘You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to achieve here,’ Solskjaer said in an emotional farewell.

‘For the club, for the fans, for the players, for the staff. I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies and I only think it’s right that it comes from the horse’s mouth.

‘It’s been a ball. Let’s keep supporting this team, you’ve got to stick with them. They [the fans] have been amazing with me since one of my first kicks of the ball, I scored with one of the first ones, until now.

‘I’m sure we’ll meet again because if there’s anywhere I’m going to watch football games, that’s at Old Trafford.’ 

Rangnick will be tasked with getting United up the table after a poor start to the campaign

Rangnick will be tasked with getting United up the table after a poor start to the campaign



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