Talk is cheap, which is probably why the ears of the glazer family are pricked when hearing anything that sounds good on paper.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke a good game, before getting the Manchester United job. His soliloquies about United’s standards and how he would mold the United team that was then subject to the tyrannical rule of Jose Mourinho, meant he ticked a lot of boxes for the United hierarchy, even when the prospect of Mourinho’s sacking was unlikely.
Solskjaer’s reign as United’s manager seems to be up in the air after recent results have sent shockwaves of doubt in the players and staff alike. One name that has emerged to replace the Norwegian upon his possible departure is the experienced Ralf Rangnick.
The German is renowned for his footballing brain. Rangnick’s understanding of the beautiful game has seen him not only manage in the Bundesliga, achieving promotion with Hoffenheim twice, winning the German cup with Schalke in 2011 followed by the super cup the year after and gain promotion with Hannover in 2002 from the German second division, but his knowledge of football has also seen him move upstairs into directors roles, setting out a clubs values to ensure movement into the right direction as well as cultural resets.Embed from Getty Images
As footballing director of the Red Bull group – overseeing both Salzburg and Leipzig Rangnick worked to maintain the Salzburg’s dominance of the Austrian league but also ensured the club did it the right way by nurturing talent and creating a pipeline of great young talent who could then be sold for fees that would be recycled back into the club. The likes of Naby Keita and Sadio Mane are examples. His legacy in Austria survives with the likes of Erling Haaland, Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka most recently making big money moves to prominent clubs around Europe.
In Leipzig, Rangnick’s efforts ensured the club moved from the fourth tier of German football to the Champions League semifinals in eight years with the same model of nurturing youth.
Today, however, Rangnick, currently Lokomotiv Moscow’s sporting director, is in the hat to take over the hot seat at Old Trafford. Reports suggest while the German has admirers at United, the club are reluctant due to Rangnick’s desire to have complete control over the club. One fan theory that has been bandied about recently is that the 67-year-old would be potentially open to moving into an upstairs role at the club following a stint as interim till the end of the season. If that’s what he wants, can we really say no?
Here are five quotes that United fans will love to read from the man himself and his approach to football:
On his “3 Cs” on running a successful football club:
“Concept – On a bad day you should still be able to recognise the kind of football we wanted to play”
“Competency – The key is to have a competently and excellently trained staff”Embed from Getty Images
“Capital – Money by no means replaces competence and therefore for me it is a limited success factor. Concepts(of how the club is run) and competency (the quality of who runs the club) generates capital itself”
“I told those assisting me ‘we need to create a squad that can not only win titles but we also need to find, scout and develop players”
Speaking directly about Manchester United he said:
“There is a lot of space for a vision for United”
“At any club, if you cannot get the right players, then you should at least not sign the wrong ones. You are in trouble if you do that in one or two or three consecutive transfer windows.”Embed from Getty Images
“It’s always difficult to follow someone like Sir Alex Ferguson, who was so successful and in place for a long time – and that’s even harder if you are often changing coaches. With every coaching change, the identity changes and this is reflected in the sporting development.”
Style of play:
“We like to press high, with a very intense counter-pressure. When we have the ball, we do not like any square or back passes.”Embed from Getty Images
“The beauty of Ralf is that as intense as he is, he also gets really excited about new ideas. As traditional as he is in some ways, he is also very innovative. This is the beauty of Ralf. His contrasting mentalities and his ability to continue to grow and adjust and adapt to the younger generation — he’s got a gift,” – Jesse Marsch, former assistant coach to Rangnick.
Firm but fair when talking about his side’s performance:
“My team played like school kids in the final half hour. There will be no day off on Wednesday, just more training”
Rangnick coming into solve United’s current issues seems too big of an opportunity to pass up. Saying that it probably means they will. The most telling thing about Rangninick’s is that the German’s philosophy on how to run a club almost mirror the issues faced at Old Trafford, let that sink in.