Ralf Rangnick has been labelled a ‘merchant’ for agreeing to temporarily take charge of Manchester United. The Red Devils are poised to turn to the 63-year-old in the aftermath of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure. And he’s also set to be given a consultancy role at the club, too.
United opted to axe Solskjaer in the aftermath of the club’s heavy 4-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road last weekend.
While they’ve been linked with Rudi Garcia and Ernesto Valverde, it’s Rangnick who is now poised to take over.
The 63-year-old has inspired the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann over the years and, now, is finally set to chance his arm in the Premier League.
Rangnick has agreed to take charge of United until the end of the season, before then taking on a consultancy role.
His move to England is dependant on talks with current club Lokomotiv Moscow, who are expected to let him go.
But former president of the Russian club Nikolai Naumov has criticised Rangnick, branding him a ‘merchant’ for his imminent move to Old Trafford.
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“It’s not about Manchester,” he told Match TV, via Sportbox.
“For Rangnick, this is no escape, betrayal, or disgrace. Rangnick is a merchant.
“He absolutely does not care about football, because he only does business around him.
“And the more countries, leagues and football clubs he covers, the more he will earn.
“He’s absolutely indifferent to Lokomotiv. He did not come here to raise football, but to earn money.
“Now he was offered money elsewhere, and he and his company will go to United.
“When he’s offered to work in Africa, he will go to earn money there, leaving his deputy at Manchester United. Clean business.”
Naumov also added: “I will never believe that Manchester United will let him enter the club as a whole agency.
“As a coach – yes, he is an experienced specialist, it can be.
“I doubt that even as a consultant he will have the opportunity to do his own ‘buy and sell’. We’ll see what will happen to Rangnick in six months.”
Rangnick’s appointment could bode well for United’s younger players.
The 63-year-old likes to have wonderkids aplenty and that may work in the favour of Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Amad.
However, for Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal international may struggle to win Rangnick round.
The German likes his forwards to press from the front and Ronaldo’s stats, in that department, don’t make for positive reading.
Meanwhile, Bundesliga expert Kevin Hatchard believes Rangnick can turn the situation at Old Trafford around.
“This was a guy who was very much a pioneer when he was bringing his vision of pressing and counter-pressing, that very quick vertical style,” said Hatchard.
“There’s a lot of coaches who have taken a leaf out of his book – Thomas Tuchel is one of those.
“Their paths crossed very early on in Tuchel’s coaching career and, had it not been for his time with Rangnick, he may not have taken up coaching in the way that he did.
“Jurgen Klopp I think has amended some of the ideas for his heavy metal football.
“This is a guy who basically built the Red Bull football operation from scratch in Leipzig.
“Yes, he’s had a lot of money to play with, but you still have to do it and that is a very slick operation.”