Will there be a Ralf Rangnick evolution at Old Trafford?
There is a buzz in the air around Old Trafford in the wake of Manchester United announcing German tactician Ralf Rangnick as the new interim boss for the remainder of the season.
The highly-experienced football mind and “Godfather of Gegenpressing” will replace Michael Carrick on the touchline at the Theatre of Dreams for the rest of the 2021-22 campaign before taking up a greater role at the club amongst the Man United brain trust in the club hierarchy.
Ralf Rangnick has had a huge influence on modern football 🤝 pic.twitter.com/g3pp5STmkd
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 25, 2021
But Rangnick is so much more than just a manager or a progressive tactician. Though he has been credited as an influence on a generation of gifted German managers the likes of Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, and Julian Naglesmann, from top to bottom, he will not just look to extract the best technical and tactical output from what is a gifted and star-studded group of Manchester United players.
Rangnick is here to make an impression that will last beyond his tenure on the touchline and after he moves into a board-level position at the club in some capacity. But the question remains whether or not club ownership – and those behind the scenes the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson – will be receptive of a man who is unquestionably an autocrat in every sense of the word.
Under the German, United fans should expect a tactical ethos to take shape at the club not just in the first-team, but throughout the youth set up; something that Rangnick instituted at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim as well at both Red Bull club’s Leipzig and Salzburg.
Additionally, Rangnick has a knack for conducting recruitment that targets technically and tactically versatile players, with high levels of potential, that can cope with the rigors of his preferred high-octane attacking football which features an aggressive press.
This immediately suits the likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, but especially Jadon Sancho who suits that remit to the ground having shone in a similar setting while at Borussia Dortmund. What it also means is that United could be on the cusp of instituting a drastically different approach in the market when it comes to the types of players they may target moving forward.
Ralf Rangnick may be primed to have a real influence at one of the largest clubs in football for the first time in his glistening and influential career.
His way or the highway
There has been much talk over the years regarding if managers or leading figures can be successful at Manchester United given the ownership of the Glazer family and the ever-present shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson still looming at the club. But for Ralf Rangnick, it has always very much been his way or the highway.
101 recently spoke to New York-based Bundesliga writer, podcaster, and expert Marie Schulte-Bockum about Rangnick, who he is, his track record in Germany, and what he could bring to Old Trafford both on the touchline and beyond. Here is an excerpt of that report;
“But this is the most important part; he does not get along with people above him. To put it bluntly, he’s usually smarter than them. You know, his understanding of football is higher, he’s more academic. So when there are these people like former professionals or oligarchs that are telling him what to do, he’s like ‘no, I know better.’
So that’s where this is a brave decision for Man United to bring him in because, in some way it represents a release of control…a giving up of control. Because, with Rangnick, you know Man United said he was going to be interim manager and then probably stay at the club in some capacity – I am guessing he will probably be a technical director, scout, or sporting director after – it means that people currently at the top…the Glazers, Ed Woodward, whoever else is up there, maybe even Sir Alex Ferguson with his consulting position…they are all giving up some of their own influence and leaving it in the hands of Ralf Rangnick.”
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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