Ralf Rangnick: What can Man Utd expect from the German manager?

Ralf Rangnick is set to be appointed as interim Manchester United manager until the end of this season.

He will succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who left the club this month, and after his initial six-month spell in charge, the German will take on a consultancy role with the club for two further years.

But what attracted United to Rangnick and vice versa? What kind of manager is he? Is he likely to be a success and what will his role beyond this season entail?

And what will his appointment mean for Cristiano Ronaldo?

To answer these questions, the BBC spoke to St. Louis SC sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel, who worked with Rangnick at Hoffenheim, former Leicester defender Christian Fuchs – who played under him at Schalke – and European football journalists Raphael Honigstein, Guillem Balague and Julien Laurens.

The best man on the market’

Rangnick’s appointment comes at the end of a thorough recruitment process conducted by United, who were impressed during an initial conversation with the German earlier this week.

The 63-year-old has built an impressive coaching reputation during his time in Germany, chiefly through spells at Stuttgart, Hannover, Hoffenheim, Schalke and RB Leipzig.

He would be joining a club that are eighth in the Premier League, having lost their way under Solskjaer, whose final match was a 4-1 humbling at Watford and their fourth defeat in five league games.

Honigstein: He had a similar offer of an interim job from Chelsea not that long ago and he said ‘no, that’s not for me’. In this case there are three different things. 

Firstly, it is Manchester United and that still has a special ring to it. There is a romance, especially for an anglophile like Rangnick, who studied and lived in England and loves the Premier League. 

Secondly, it is six months. It is more than two thirds of the season with a lot of football still to be played. 

Thirdly, United have effectively said to him ‘we might only want you as a short-term manager, but we want to tap into your football knowledge beyond that’. This comes at a time when the structure at United is changing a bit, with a new chief executive coming in and an openness to bringing in more football expertise from outside.

We all look at what Thomas Tuchel has done in an even shorter space of time at Chelsea. He has no experience of English football, comes in January and, just by giving a team that was completely rudderless some structure, he goes on to win the Champions League. 

I think United will have thought ‘can we get a Tuchel-type guy to give us an immediate lift, immediate structure?’. The team is better than their current results and performances.

Pfannenstiel: Ralf is a big expert, really one of the best coaches or managers Germany produced in the past 15-20 years, I would say. 

Everything he did so far was successful and he always was very clear that if he gets the opportunity to work for a big club in England, he wants to do that. 

So, looking at this interim head coach, I think he is the one who really can get everything stabilised to really get United back on track. I think he probably was the best man on the market.

Laurens: I’m gobsmacked and I’m still not sure. He’s one of the greatest thinkers in football in the past 20 years and inspired all the great German coaches.

But he’s a builder, that’s what he does and you don’t do that in six months.

For a quick fix, I wouldn’t put him in that role. He will give his opinions on players and methods, but will not be able to interfere like he did at Leipzig. I was a bit surprised. I can see why he took that job – you can’t say no to United whoever you are.

He knows English football but has not managed or played here before.

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