Ralf Rangnick, the architect of RB Leipzig’s rise and the man widely regarded as the ancestor of much of modern German football, landed the most prominent post of his career, albeit on a temporary: the 63-year-old. Rangnick is expected to be appointed Manchester United manager, possibly starting today.
After three tumultuous and moving years, United have finally parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Sunday, less than 24 hours after his side suffered a humiliating 4-1 loss at Watford. The defeat came just weeks after Solskjaer’s side, reinforced over the summer with Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, were humiliated in quick succession at home by Liverpool and Manchester City.
Michael Carrick, a member of Solskjaer’s coaching staff and like him decorated player in a decade of playing at the club, took charge of United’s Champions League victory at Villarreal on Tuesday, but officials of the team had made it clear that his meeting would be brief.
In the aftermath of Solskjaer’s sacking, United had determined that the best solution was to appoint an experienced interim manager – to lead the club through to the end of the season – as they considered a long-term replacement for Solskjaer. The club seemed to be working on the logic that there would be a fuller field of candidates for the permanent position available this summer.
While Ajax’s Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino are the most compelling candidates for the full-time role, United considered a variety of immediately available coaches for the goalkeeper position that went to Rangnick. Lucien Favre, former Borussia Dortmund, and Rudi Garcia, French champion with Lille, were both considered.
It was Rangnick, however, who quickly established himself as the favorite. He has spent much of the past decade establishing and refining the Red Bull club network, holding positions at both Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig. He helped make the former one of the Champions League regulars and the latter one of the most consistent clubs in Germany.
He made himself known, however, by guiding Hoffenheim – a team with little to no history, based in the village of Sinsheim – from the lower parts of German football to the Bundesliga, and teaching and playing an intense style and fast football which formed the theoretical basis of Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. For many, Rangnick is the godfather of the German pressing game that now permeates most top European football.
He left the Red Bull group last summer and set up his own consulting firm, along with his longtime friend and confidant Lars Kornetka. The company had hired a handful of clients, including Lokomotiv Moscow, hoping to benefit from Rangnick’s experience and club-building expertise.
These teams have agreed that Rangnick put these projects on hold while he takes over United. His role as manager will only last until the end of the season. He will then progress to a consultant position at United once a new manager is in place.