MANCHESTER – Manchester United has turned to renowned German coach Ralf Rangnick about rescuing the team's season by taking temporary charge.
No final agreement has been reached but discussions with United are ongoing about the former Leipzig coach leaving his role as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing talks.
The managerial vacancy was opened up at United by the firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday. Rangnick could be coach only until the end of the season but there's potential for an ongoing role at the record 20-time English champions.
Former United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was on Solskjaer’s coaching staff, was put in temporary charge with United saying it wanted to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season before making a permanent appointment. Carrick started midweek with a 2-0 win at Villarreal, securing a place in the round of 16 in the Champions League.
United is back in action in the Premier League on Sunday at Chelsea, 12 points behind the leader. But there is more than two thirds of the season remaining to close the six-point gap on the Champions League qualification places.
United has struggled to find stability since the 26-year reign of Alex Ferguson ended with him heading off into retirement in 2013 by lifting the Premier League trophy for a 13th time. Only three trophies of note have been won since then, with Louis van Gaal delivering the FA Cup in 2016 and José Mourinho the League Cup and Europa League the following year.
United would be going from the inexperience of Solskjaer to 63-year-old Rangnick who has experience as a sporting director and coach — particularly within Red Bull’s network of clubs with roles at Salzburg and Leipzig. Before then he won the German Cup with Schalke in 2011 when he also reached the semifinals of the Champions League.
Rangnick was a pioneer of the high-intensity pressing style of play developed in Germany and increasingly dominant in world football over the last decade. He was an influence on younger coaches such as Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann.
Rangnick was only the coach for two single-season spells at Leipzig, and one of those was spent in the second division with the then-fast-rising German club.
Going to United could allow him to get accustomed to the team before moving upstairs when a permanent manager is appointed.
Most of Rangnick’s time over the last decade was spent as sporting director, first at Salzburg, then Leipzig, then in an overall role for the whole Red Bull network, overseeing transfers and hiring while coaches handled the day-to-day tactical work.
His most recent role in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow has been more of the same, with overall authority for transfer strategy and the recent appointment of a fellow German, Markus Gisdol, as coach.
Rangnick has regularly been linked with high-profile jobs at top European clubs over the past decade, without the rumors ever quite being realized. He came closest when he was linked with the AC Milan coach’s job for much of the 2019-20 season, but the move fell apart after incumbent Stefano Pioli improved results enough to earn a contract extension.
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