“What is the job of a head coach or a manager,” Ralf Rangnick asked on stage at the Coaches’ Voice forum last year, with the audience captivated and hanging off his every word. There’s a reason why people listen when Rangnick speaks. He’s excellent value.
Rangnick is a pioneer of German football. When he was manager of Bundesliga 2 side Ulm in 1998, he made an appearance on national TV to discuss his tactical approach of the ‘gegenpress’. That is now widely known as pressing and it’s essential in the modern game.
Rangnick’s game plans were always meticulously planned while his influence on those around him has been extraordinary and that’s testament to his vast knowledge. German coaches are now among the best in the world and Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann all credit Rangnick as an important figure in their respective paths to the upper echelons of football.
The 63-year-old last coached at RB Leipzig, where he oversaw their rise – most of his years spent at RB Leipzig were as the club’s sporting director – through the German divisions to the Champions League. That was no fairytale story considering their multimillion-pound budget, but Rangnick’s clear vision for the club underpinned their every success.
He left his position at Red Bull earlier this year for a new challenge as Lokomotiv Moscow’s Manager of Sports and Development, but Rangnick’s name is still regularly linked with some of the biggest board room and managerial jobs in the Premier League.
Rangnick’s renowned reputation ensures he’s never out of conversations in important places and that’s including at Old Trafford.
Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday and they have shortlisted Rangnick as a potential candidate to take over at the helm on an interim basis. While United remain confident of appointing Mauricio Pochettino, Rangnick would make a stellar alternative on a temporary basis. The club have also interviewed Ernesto Valverde and Rudi Garcia for the interim role.
Although United signed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, the Reds have criminally underperformed this season and Solskjaer should have parted ways with the club one month before the axe was finally brought down on his reign.
There were always tactical doubts over Solskjaer and United looked devoid of identity under his leadership this term.
If Rangnick does arrive at United for the interim role, United fans already know he’s exactly what they need after Solskjaer. Rangnick would immediately instil a sense of purpose into this world-class squad and no stone would be left unturned in regards to tactics.
When Rangnick spoke on stage at the Coaches’ Voice event, he explained his outlook on football management in simple terms and supporters will love what he said. “To have a clear idea [the job of a manager] of how my team should play,” he added.
“This can be more the Pep Guardiola style or the Diego Simeone style or the Jurgen Klopp style. What they all have in common is, they exactly know which kind of football they want to play and what it looks like. They have a video of the perfect game in their minds.
“The job of a football manager is to transform this idea of football into the heads, hearts and veins of your players.”
Solskjaer failed to deliver a clear style of play at United. He failed to transform his ideas into the hearts of his players.
When Rangnicks speaks, it’s hard not to be engaged and he could make the impact that is required in the Reds’ dressing room.