So it looks like Ralf Rangnick is almost certain to become Manchester United manager until the end of the season, thereafter moving into a consulting role for ten years (I think this is important). I’m working on a big Rangnick article for paid subscribers at the moment. For now, though, I’ll ask you: have they called this one right? Is there someone else out there they should’ve gone for instead? Will the club be able to follow through on the foundations he intends to lay here? Or is it just going to be a brief interlude before the next boss in the summer comes in and changes everything again?
Please tell me what you think in the comments of this post.
I think its clearly an improvement on the current situation. i.e. a manager with a clear vision how the game should be played and an ability to implement it.
Whether it can elevate the outstanding talent in the team to compete as one of Europe's top clubs both short and long term, remains subject to a couple of uncertainties as I see it.
First, will there be too much resistance from the higher-ups at United to what Rangnick tries to do. The consulting role is a good early sign but the man hasn't even started so its hard to know who he might rub the wrong way.
Second, Ragnick's ideas have clearly had a huge impact on the modern game, but to what extent is he still at the forefront of modern tactics? Is Ragnick bound for a Mourinho-like decline as others overtake him?
First one is hard to know and the second one I leave to far more qualified people like you Grace.
Good appointment. They may be teeing it up for someone in the same Rangnick mould in future. Umm, Nagelsmann?
I think a lot rests on a) whether United see the main benefit of this deal being the interim management stint or the (reported) two-year consultancy potential b) whether they actually use that two years, if the reporting of it existing is accurate
Think it's a great hire, and as you allude to the consultancy role is crucial. Of the top prospects (Ten Hag, Poch, Zidane, ?) it didn't seem any of them would move in the middle of the year. Was interested to see how Carrick faired as a manager. But now Rangnick gets to truly evaluate everything and start the process of building structure within the side and organization writ large. I think the talent is clearly there, but a cohesive identity seemed like what Ole could never truly decide on nor articulate/implement to the squad.
Rangnick on the other hand seems like a near perfect fit in those areas. It doesn't seem like he wants to manage long term but instead be a director of football. Have confidence in him to evaluate and make the logical decisions in terms of squad building the club has fucked up recently. Timing could be tough as I'd think he'd want to put in place some automations, but with December's crowded fixture schedule it might be tougher?
Massive challenge is getting top 4 and having champions leagues to ensure you can confidently attract who ever he and the board deems to be the "right" manager. It takes time to find the right style and mould the squad to it, just ask Conte lol.
To annoyingly flip the premise, is this right for Rangnick? He's never been shy about his desire to come to England, and here he's (seemingly) being given the chance to overhaul its central institution. If this is the spiritual culmination of his career, will he be able to master it, or will it all go wrong? Manchester United is already a farce, but could this be a tragedy for Rangnick first?
It's a good move if they are committed to a long-term rebuild of the entire organization around Rangnick's model. This would include already having targets for the next permanent managerial hire lined up who are aligned with that model. To me the biggest concern would be that the squad as it is currently constructed is not well-suited for playing this way, so there's no guarantee that they'll be able to sneak back into European places by the end of the season, which may make it considerably harder to attract a "name" coach (of which there don't figure to be many available anyway). United may end up in a situation where they have to sit back and hope this season ends badly enough for Pochettino and PSG that the United job seems like just a great opportunity for a high-paying return to coaching in the Premier League.
I’m mostly curious about the consultancy part. What does that look like if, say, Pochettino is the coach in the summer? What decision making power would each have?
I feel like 'consultancy' is a big step down from where they need him, in a powerful sporting director role. We'll have to see how it plays out, but my money is on him having little influence after his spell in charge.
Good coach, but the racist comments in the past are a kinda rough look
Answering a question with a question to say, does hiring one man after eight years of complacency suddenly fix a football club?
I think for the first time in a while they have made an attempt at doing the right thing. I think once they missed Conte then the immediate options were limited. Poch isn't happy but it probably would have taken a bit of time to get him away then suddenly another 5 games are gone.
I'm kind of intrigued as to what's Richard Arnold's role in all this. I did hear he doesn't want to blag the football side like Woodward has. Has he basically figured it's a mess and they need someone with football knowledge and expertise of sorting shit out and putting structures in place? If so, then this could be really exciting. United have been crying out for a professional footballing structure that's bigger than the manager since Ferguson.
In terms of a new manager I do think Poch could work under Rangnick as long as he feels it's more collaborative than PSG.
As a Man United fan I am just really intrigued and excited to see these players managed in a structure and clear tactical direction.
I think the question of could Utd do better is a harder one than it needed to be. They've backed themselves into this corner where there are so few options. Is Ragnick the best option now? Probably, but it's very hard to know who's a viable alternative midway through a season. I doubt he'd have made the list for manager in the summer had they acted then.
The potential biggest issue for Ragnick the coach are his last few coaching roles have been in very coherent set ups. Dealing with chaos and egos is a different challenge is a separate challenge to having a great tactical ideal.
As a consultant, the big worry is that he's simply not listened to. Putting him as a consultant rather than a decision maker already opens up scope for this and I can't see the benefit of this set up over simply employing him as DoF.
The other potential issue would be the dynamic it creates with the new coach. He's reportedly interested in the job longer term so could become a bit of a spectre waiting in the wings to take over if things go wrong. Especially if he's a training ground presence, that could really undermine the new coach. I'm thinking like Grant at Chelsea before the first Mourinho departure.
A good choice but not great timing ahead of the festive fixture pile-up. I'll be interested to see how he goes getting his system across to the coaches and players with so little time between games to work in training. This season was probably a write-off already but I think it'll be a great appointment long-term, as long as there is buy-in from above and belief in the system at all levels, and that belief is reflected in player recruitment.
It's a half step that could easily be turned it a mess because of Ronaldo's large contract/ unwillingness to press or just not shot, there's still need to look at defence from CB to RB, I think they missed their shot to grab Conte in a reluctance to undercut Ole's 'bounceback' and now with Rangnick they could easily fumble a good squad with the outsized influence former players and managers hold over the club, on the positive side the appointment looks to contrast Ole's lack of well...coaching with a more formal system that most of the team could work towards a more stable footing for this and next season.
I'm curious about why he went to Lokomotiv? This is a team that's ranked lower on 538 than every team in the premier league and bundesliga. I guess he likes to build teams from the start, but was there really not a more enticing project available?
Feels like there’s a reasonable chance the interim management is a disaster (poor squad fit for him, time since he’s actually managed successfully at a high level) and that then taints the consultancy appointment and the actual purpose/use of that.
Feel it is a good appointment for now with the 2 year consultancy option. However, I’m intrigued to know if it’ll be similar to his short spell at Lokomotiv where things didn’t go well I suppose.
Also, getting him lay the foundations until the end of the season & then get a manager who’d be very similar approach wise would be perfect plan
Given the situation, this was likely the best possible outcome. It does not excuse the extreme leeway given to Ole which has prevented numerous other options. Moreover, he seems interested in overhauling the club; the question becomes whether the Glazer’s will provide him the apparatus to do so.
Hi Grace, it’s a clever choice. Now that can only be evaluated on how much he is allowed to change/structure the football side. It can easily go the route of Arsenal/Mislintat.
It feels like a move that should have happened back post mourinho. The squad is a lot further down the road now and has been built without the principles of high pressing involved. Almost feels like the last years have been wasted now that they are going down a completely different path.
Then again it is never too late to embrace positive change, and while it may take a few years to really see these new principles take hold, it will be worth it in the end.
Not sure what this means for Ronaldo now though. Doesn't seem compatible to have a 37 year old leading the press.
What I hope for: Ralf sets the stage, incorporating modern pressing and ideas when in possession. They work with him on recruitment after moving upstairs. Someone like ten Hag comes in and has a base to work with and mold, basics already instilled in players.
But it’s United so the future basically is this: 🤷
The main question I have is what does it take for a manager and board to work well with him? Pochettino working with a DOF has mixed results. Erik Ten Hag’s work with a DOF has been in a very specific Ajax environment. Rangnick as an executive has worked mainly in Red Bull and a short stint at Lokomotiv and DOFs seem to be extremely hit or miss depending on the environment for them (see Monchi and Mislintat). The factors both above and below him seem fascinating.
Hi Grace, I think the answer is: yes for now but: lads - it's Utd.....
I think the short term appointment, to see them through 2021/22 and have a chance of salvaging the season, is about as good as it gets. Rangnick is top drawer and should be able to get a tune out of the Utd squad sufficient to have a decent season.
The short term fly in the ointment may be Cristiano. Partly because Rangnick will either have to make him contribute more without the ball, or he'll have to sacrifice some of his creative options in order to indulge Ronaldo by having more worker bees in the side to compensate.
The bigger issue may be next season. Will a Poch or ten Hag want to sign up to a Rangnick project? Maybe Utd would better off with a Hasenhuttl or Marsch and accept they've signed up to a specific type of project - but how will that work for the rest of Utd's somewhat odd technical hierarchy?
I get the sense for Rangnick to work out longer term they have to go full Ralf as, like pregnancy, you can't really be half-Ralf. But this is Utd: my prediction is they go for a bigger name manager and Rangnick walks away before the Qatar World Cup as that Just. Won't. Work.
He does seem like the right fit from a football perspective. I'm just annoyed with the appointment given his history of racism. Again, this really is a game that makes it hard to love.
I think the key is the consultancy role post interim, he has a proven track record of team/culture building, and honestly as a United that excited me a lot more than the appointment as the interim (which I think is great move) hopefully he and whoever we bring in as permanent coach are on the same page, so we start making some quality football decisions going forwards
Tough one. The call is a good one given where they found themselves I think but it depends so much on them actually continuing to make good decisions! It could all go poorly if the football decision makers in the club aren't aligned in a sensible structure and having Rangnick as a consultant is a risk in that he isn't going to be directly responsible. But it could go well I hope!
In terms of ideas Ralf is a good one.
In terms of execution of those ideas like many things at United in recent times off the field. Who can say?
The will is there from both sides but will United be willing to make the changes to their organization when it comes to the crunch?
I have no idea of Rangnick's ability as a manager. I don't watch enough football to judge, honestly - too busy with school. All I can do is look at the some really basic stats at his previous clubs. His most recent clubs are Schalke, Hoffenheim, and RB Leipzig. At Hoffenheim, he seems to have taken the club from the third tier to the 2. Bundesliga and then from there into the Bundesliga. Which is quite a development. However, Wiki does seem to cite that there was significant investment in the club from owner Dietmar Hopp - so that may have been partly because of the financial differences and heavy investment into the club, although I am not sure how much financial clout they may have had over their competitors. The finished 7th, 11th in their seasons with Rangnick at the helm in the Bundeliga before Rangnick resigned because of disputes with the board over the sale of a player. They did finish 11th after that as well, before falling down to the relegation playoffs. At Schalke, he doesn't seem to have had that impressive of a win percentage (compared to successor Huub Stevens), but did win the DFP Pokal, so that's something. Last is his record at Leipzig which seems excellent.
Add that to his reputation of being a good tactical manager (inspiring the likes of Tuchel etc), and I think Man Utd have a good manager, although probably not an elite one.
At Leipzig where he was DoF and Head of Sport and Development, though, is where the real good part for Man Utd is. I imagine his experience of building a club at Hoffenheim and the structure at Leipzig (that said, I'm judging a lot on his career at Leipzig) will be invaluable to Man Utd, since apart from their financial revenue, Man Utd have seemed dysfunctional to say the least in this department. It's up to Man Utd to take advantage of it and give him the necessary support to put such a structure in place. I think Woodward is about to go at Utd if I remember correctly so there would be just the Glazers to persuade at United, which probably would make it easier for him than having a strong personality behind the scenes. And the Glazers do seem to realize that something is amiss, but they seem to have no idea how to fix the problem (as seen in their panicked sacking of Solskjaer), so perhaps they would be more hospitable to what Rangnick would advise them to do.
A team like Manchester Untied should not be afraid to think long term. The foundations Rangnick lays down should future proof the club. Chasing the trophy count, CL qualification has lead many teams into short term thinking to the detriement of football development. But until the summer and whatever change then occurs, Manchester United need to be organised around clear team tactics.