Ralf Rangnick close to becoming Manchester United interim manager
Ralf Rangnick is close to finalising a deal to become Manchester United interim manager until the end of the season.
Discussions are ongoing over a deal that would also see Rangnick remain at the club for two years beyond the end of the season in a consultancy role.
Rangnick, 63, is one of the most respected names in German football and is currently manager of sports and development for Lokomotiv Moscow.
United remain in talks with the Russian club over an agreement to release him.
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As it stands, Michael Carrick is still expected to be in charge for Sunday’s Premier League game at Chelsea, live on Sky Sports.
Carrick has been placed in temporary charge while United conduct a thorough process to appoint an interim boss following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week.
Former Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde and former Lyon head coach Rudi Garcia had also been considered for the interim role.
United are planning to make a permanent appointment at the end of the season and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is their first choice, with Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag also in their thinking.
What would Rangnick bring to Man Utd?
Rangnick oversaw the rise of the Red Bull group of clubs in Europe as head coach and sporting director of RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg.
He is credited with having influenced Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann among many others.
Rangnick has long been recognised as one of the first people behind the ‘gegenpress’, which translates as ‘counter-press’; the high-pressing, all-out running style adopted with great success by Klopp.
He has been linked with a move to the Premier League a number of times before, in both a managerial and sporting director role.
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
Rangnick describes it as his “football epiphany”. It was February 1983 and, aged 25, he was serving as player-manager of Viktoria Backnang, a small-town team in Germany’s sixth tier, when Valeriy Lobanovskiy’s Dynamo Kiev turned up for a mid-season friendly.
Lobanovskiy’s side were regarded as the strongest in the Soviet Union and it was no surprise they easily swatted their amateur opponents aside. But the manner in which they did it made a lasting impression on Rangnick, a bewildered figure in central midfield.
“A few minutes in, when the ball had gone out for a throw, I had to stop and count the opposition players,” he recalls in Raphael Honigstein’s book, Das Reboot.
“That was the first time I felt what it was like to come up against a team who systematically pressed the ball.”
Lobanovskiy’s relentless, organised pressing tactics would form the basis of Rangnick’s own philosophy, one he would later implement at a string of clubs including Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, helping to revolutionise German football, inspire a generation of coaches including Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, and, ultimately, take him to the Manchester United hotseat.
‘Man Utd difficult for Rangnick to turn down’
Analysis from German football expert Raphael Honigstein…
“I’m a little bit surprised because of course before he had an opportunity with Chelsea before Thomas Tuchel came in last January, at that moment he felt that just four months in that role would not have been enough time.
“With United it is a different story. Firstly, there is still two thirds of the season to go. Secondly, I think it is the ‘United factor’, there is a romance, a glamour attached to the role meaning it is very difficult to turn down especially if you look at the number of amazing players at his disposal.
“Not to work with them I think would have been very difficult for someone who still has so much passion for the job. Thirdly, I think United have been very smart in realising that they might not want to commit themselves to having him as the coach for the next three or four years. Maybe they have something different, maybe they have someone else lined up for next summer.
“But they have a chance to get this guy through the door, tap into his knowledge and seek his help when it comes to setting up the academy, working with coaches, optimising the transfer strategy, all the things where United have been really punching below their weight a little bit.
“I think as a package it is very difficult to turn down and it really works well for him and for United.”
Carrick’s future? – ‘I’m not looking beyond the Chelsea game’
Michael Carrick spoke to Sky Sports’ Laura Woods ahead of Manchester United’s game against Chelsea on Super Sunday:
“My future is the next two or three days, that’s as far as I’m prepared to look. Football is that kind of business where you never know what’s around the corner at the best of times. All my energy, my mind, is on Sunday.
“I didn’t have to ask too many questions, it happened very quickly. This is my role for now, however long it may be.
“It’s not about how much I want to do this or how long, it’s about what’s asked of me really. At the moment I’m enjoying it for what it is, I understand what it is and my responsibilities but I’m literally looking at this next game. It’s such a big challenge. Whatever happens after that we’ll have to wait and see.”
November 28: Chelsea (a) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
December 2: Arsenal (h) – Premier League, kick-off 8.15pm
December 5: Crystal Palace (h) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm
December 8: Young Boys (h) – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
December 11: Norwich (a) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
(c) Sky Sports 2021: Ralf Rangnick close to becoming Manchester United interim manager