The manner of Manchester United’s successful pursuit and appointment of Ralf Rangnick suggests they are taking a more considered approach as Ed Woodward’s tenure winds down
Manchester United’s transfer strategy and their questionable managerial appointments have been the subject of derision from rival Premier League fans for many years.
Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, has borne the brunt of much of this criticism with serious concerns lingering about his lack of a footballing background.
The decision to pay £80million for Harry Maguire in 2019, a world-record sum for a defender, is just one of the questionable transfer calls made in recent seasons.
Further, United chiefs saw fit to hand Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a lucrative new contract in July, just four months before sacking the Norwegian in November.
Many Red Devils fans may feel the club have not used their resources wisely under the current regime, and they would be right.
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However, as Woodward’s tenure winds down ahead of his departure next April, there are signs the club are making positive steps which will bring them in line with their rivals.
Monday’s unveiling of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager appears a shrewd one on paper which gives United a seasoned, highly-regarded boss who could reverse their concerning form.
On top of that, the club will then benefit from the advice of one of football’s great strategists over the subsequent two years as the German takes on a technical consultancy role at Old Trafford.
United did not rush into appointing Rangnick and instead handed the reigns to caretaker Michael Carrick for two games while they interviewed five candidates.
They will hope to reap the rewards of this considered approach as the season unfolds, while they should be praised for the frugal manner with which they secured Rangnick’s signature.
The former RB Leipzig boss was still in the early stages of a three-year contract as Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sports and development signed in July this year when United came calling.
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This would have entitled the Russian club to hefty compensation, but the United hierarchy were able to release Rangnick from his post without paying a penny.
While Lokomotiv may have been inclined to let him depart rather than continue to pay his reported £3.8million-per-year salary, Woodward and his colleagues certainly deserve credit for capturing their priority interim target for no fee.
This successful pursuit of Rangnick and the plan United have put in place to take them forward in the coming seasons suggests they have veered away from the expensive, short-term strategy they previously utilised.