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Diving into what Ralf Rangnick will bring to the table at Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick

The man who planted the seeds for Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel to bear fruit in their journey, is ever close to be the interim boss of Manchester United by next week.

He is reckoned as the "God-father" of gegenpressing, i.e., counter pressing, which is a philosophy used by Klopp, Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann and Hassenhutl.

It is confirmed by Fabrizio Romano that Manchester United have offered a 6-month contract for the German as he is set to take over the reins at Old Trafford following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It is further confirmed that Man Utd have met the desired requests from Rangnick to have a "consultancy" role at the club in the near future which will last from June 2022 till 2024 after his contract expires as interim coach.

However, as the Red Devil's step up their pursuit of the German, the spotlight will be directed to him as the football world would want to see what he could extract from this United squad between now and the end of the season.

His first challenge is expected to be against a high flying Arsenal side at Old Trafford in a few days.

Who is he?

The 63-year old German is a man who is highly regarded at home in Germany as his coaching philosophy has revolutionized the modern game as he's inspired and mentored Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann and many more with his intense and aggressive style of play.

Rangnick is referred to as the godfather of the gegenpress, which translates as "counter-pressing" in German. It is a style of play which is popular in modern times which involves a player pressing the opponent higher up the pitch and giving them less time to pick a pass. A good example of a coach who implements this style of play is Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp.

'The Professor' started his career as a player-coach in the 1980's in Germany before he became the head coach of the Stuttgart U-19 side. He led them to win the U-19 Bundesliga title in 1991. The German worked his way higher up the ranks by coaching and mentoring German clubs in the lower divisions. His break came through when he was appointed as the head coach of the Stuttgart first team squad in the Bundesliga.

After leaving Stuttgart in the early 2000's, Rangnick guided Hannover to a promotion in the Bundesliga. In the year 2005, he was named as the head coach of Schalke. He led that Schalke side to the DFB-Pokal final and finished second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich in the same season. A few years later, he had a stint at Hoffenheim and then later returned to Schalke once again where he guided the latter to the Champions League semi finals where they lost against Manchester United in 2011.

Moving on, he was named as the director of football operations at Red Bull for their European clubs in Leipzig and Salzburg during 2012-19. During that time, Rangnick managed Leipzig during two stints, one which came during 2015-16 and 2018-19. This was where he really transformed Leipzig into a top class European side that competed in Europe regularly for the big prize, i.e., the Champions League.

Moving forward, Rangnick has recently been working with Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League as the manager of Sports and Development since July this year.

And right now?

He's set to manage one of the biggest clubs in the history of the game in Manchester United.

How close is he?

The agreement is in place between Manchester United and Lokomotiv Moscow for Ralf Rangnick. It is assumed that the deal will most likely be signed by the end of this week. To add to that, the German already has an agreement to join as interim manager and then be a part of United as a consultant.

However, he's even interested in continuing his rein at Old Trafford as a full time manager. Currently, Rangnick's camp is working on the work permit to arrive in England as the coach is planning to arrive next week.

To answer the question above, Yeah! He's really close!

What does he bring on the table?

Even though his CV might not speak much in terms of trophies, his desire to inspire his boys and his knowledge regarding the game will help United a lot in the long run even though he'll be there for a few years. Even after his role as an interim manager, his presence at the club will help United build a soccer foundation at the club.

In the last few years, with the Glazer's taking over, Man Utd have been far away from their rivals in Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. (It seems as though, they're taking comfort in the fact that Spurs are still behind them.) Ralf is a man who is stubborn, demanding and hungry for positive results. He might be a little bit difficult to handle within the premises of the club.

However, it doesn't seem like Man Utd wanted a man who should tell them what to do. As good as this appointment may sound for a club like United, there's going to be a lot of ego's that will need to be handled in the dressing room and in the conference room as well.

It will be really interesting to see how the German coach starts at Manchester United with the club of that calibre in dire state at this point in time. It will also be interesting to see how long it will take for Ralf to implement his style of play and his philosophy in the minds, veins and cells of the squad he will have at his disposal.

The positive sign is that he has a very clear identity of how he wants his team(s) to play the game which is high in intensity. It's crystal clear!

Here's the thing, He is a "Planner." His knowledge of the game, the way he thinks, the way he's taken up this job at Manchester United, just speaks volumes of how ambitious and focused he is. He's coming to England to manage a side that was clearly dis-functional as had no identity while playing under Solskjaer.

As stubborn as he is, it actually is a good appointment for United. Ralf isn't a man who would come in for holidays and leave. He'll be on the plane to Manchester looking to re-build the empire at Old Trafford. The sporting set-up at United is in pieces and a man who could pave the way is on his way to England.

There is no clue yet as to how United will play under him especially with Cristiano Ronaldo up front at the central striker, but there's going to be a structure and an organisation at least with how the Red Devils are going to be out there on the field. His advise to those at the hierachy will be critical and useful. It will be one that cannot be ignored and thrown away.

On the face of it, it clearly looks as though Manchester United have made one clear good decision off late especially when they have ignored the warning signs all along these last few years.

For the players, they will know that they will need to raise their standards and their level of performances along with the effort that they put on the training ground and on gameday. There's no hiding from Ralf Rangnick.