Ralf Rangnick, the architect of RB Leipzig’s rise and the man considered to be the forefather of much of modern German football, has taken up the loudest post of his career, albeit on a temporary basis: the 63-year-old footballer. Rangnick is expected to be appointed manager of Manchester United, possibly as early as today.
After three turbulent and emotional years, United finally parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday, less than 24 hours after his team suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Watford. This loss came just weeks after reinforced over the summer by the likes of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, Solskjaer’s squad was quickly humiliated at home by both Liverpool and Manchester City.
Michael Carrick, a member of Solskjaer’s coaching staff and, like him, a veteran player of his ten-year playing career at the club, took charge of United’s Champions League win at Villarreal on Tuesday, but the team made it clear that his date would be short.
Following Solskjaer’s firing, United decided it would be best to appoint an experienced interim manager to bring the club to the end of the season, although he was considering a long-term replacement for Solskjaer. It seemed that the club was working according to the logic that in the summer there would be a fuller field of candidates for a permanent position.
While players such as Erik ten Hag and Ajax’s Mauricio Pochettino are the most compelling contenders for a permanent role, United were considering a range of available coaches for the interim defender position, which Rangnick took over. Lucien Favre, former Borussia Dortmund player, and Rudy Garcia, French champion with Lille were both considered.
However, it was Rangnick who quickly became the leader. He has spent much of the last decade building and setting up the Red Bull club network, holding positions at both Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig. He helped transform the former into a permanent Champions League player and the latter into one of Germany’s most stable clubs.
Nonetheless, he rose to prominence by leading Hoffenheim – a team with little or no history based in the village of Sinsheim – from German low-level football to the Bundesliga, as well as teaching and playing an intense, fast-paced style of play. football, which served as a theoretical basis for players such as Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. For many, Rangnick is the godfather of the German pressure that now permeates most top-tier European football clubs.
He left the Red Bull group last summer and, along with his longtime friend and confidant Lars Kornetka, founded his own consulting firm. The company has attracted several clients, including Lokomotiv Moscow, hoping to draw on Rangnik’s expertise and knowledge of club building.
The teams agreed that Rangnick would put these projects on hold while he took over the leadership of United. His managerial role will only last until the end of the season. He will then move into a consultant role at United as soon as a new manager comes in.