The imminent appointment of Ralf Rangnick as Manchester United’s interim manager will bring a tactical genius to the club at precisely the most important time.
Previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired on Sunday after a string of poor performances and results, and it is thought that Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag, both tied down at PSG and Ajax till the end of the season, are the frontrunners to take over on a permanent basis.
This left a vacancy to lead the first team through the remaining months of the season, and after a shortlist of five candidates was made up, Rangnick was announced as the winner this afternoon.
According to The Telegraph, former FC Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde, who was widely reported to be the favorite, was one of the first choices to be thrown out after initial conversations.
Rangnick, who is 63 years old, is undoubtedly the fan-favorite among the group, which also includes Paulo Fonseca, Rudi Garcia, and Lucien Favre. He is also possibly the most well-known from a tactical standpoint, which appeared to be a weakness in Solskjaer’s thinking.
Rangnick has built a reputation as one of Europe’s most inventive football minds, overseeing the development of teams and infrastructure at newly affluent Bundesliga clubs like Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.
He was at the forefront of the so-called Gegenpressing revolution, a Germanic term for counter-pressing that many of the country’s most famous coaches have adopted. Some of his many disciples include Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. Klopp earlier referred to him as the “best German coach” still active in the sport.
Rangnick was without a doubt a visionary, establishing many of the trends that are now extensively accepted in mainstream football across Europe.
This focus on tactical awareness is just what United requires right now. The first team squad’s playing staff is among the best in the world, but it has lacked a sense of identity, tactical awareness, and a modern and successful system of play. No one in the world should be better qualified to deliver those components than the Germans.
Rangnick reportedly demanded that the arrangement include a role at the club other than the interim manager, which appears to have been granted in the shape of a consultancy post at the end of the six-month interim stint.
The contract has yet to be inked because it is dependent on a successful compensation package discussion with Rangnick’s present club, Lokomotiv Moscow.
If that hurdle is cleared, the German should take over the reins next week, if a work permit has been granted.