The appointment of Ralf Rangnick as the new manager at Manchester United has been confirmed by the unlikely source of Eric Bailly.
The Red Devils are ready to turn to the wise, old German sage as they look towards a bright new era. The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regime came to an end last weekend after their embarrassing 4-1 loss to Watford last weekend. And it seems they have very quickly settled on Rangnick as a replacement.
Their new era, initially under the caretaker stewardship of Michael Carrick, has started well. A win at Villarreal confirms Champions League progress was followed up by a gritty 1-1 draw at leaders Chelsea.
That may well prove the last act of Carrick in charge.
In what looks to be the worst-kept secret in football, the news has now been confirmed by defender Eric Bailly.
He told RMC Sport: “Yes, we’ve been told in the dressing room about the arrival of the new manager.”
However, there remains some confusion about whether Rangnick will be brought in as an interim or permanent boss.
He was reportedly set to sign a deal until the end of the season, with plans for a consultancy role at Old Trafford thereafter.
Indeed, the initial plan was that Rangnick will reportedly keep the hotseat warm until a permanent successor – most likely Mauricio Pochettino – is brought in.
Rangnick ‘to become permanent Man Utd manager’
Now though, according to The Sun, Rangnick could instead become United’s permanent manager.
They claim that while United have reached an agreement on his move, his actual role at Old Trafford remain undecided.
And the paper claims his representatives are exploring the possibility of a clause that allows him to continue as manager next season.
Indeed, the initial plan to install Rangnick into a long-term technical role at United seems fraught with issues. The German wants a say not just on their training methods and approach, but also on player recruitment.
And with John Murtough already working as director of football, United need to clearly define everyone’s roles.
A new manager coming in over the summer could muddy those waters further.
Ralf Rangnick ‘to become permanent Man Utd manager’
Instead, it’s now reported that the solution could be to install Rangnick as the permanent, long-term manager.
That would represent something of a major U-turn by the club, with Pochettino still reportedly their main target.
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Meanwhile, theDaily Mirror reports United have now reached an agreement with Lokomotiv Moscow for Rangnick’s release.
Remarkably, they claim United will not have to pay a penny in compensation for Rangnick to the Russian club. He is working as their sporting director but a clause in his deals means his exit won’t hit United in the pocket.
Furthermore, they state Rangnick earns £3.8m a season in the Russian capital.
United though will reportedly double his wages on an initial two-and-a-half-year contract to summer 2024.
Fans and pundits alike have criticised United’s lack of direction and authority since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.
However, the German has a strong footballing philosophy and is already reportedly making his impact felt.
Ralf Ragnick to ring in major Man Utd changes
Indeed, the 63-year-old is ready to make major changes to United – and it will all start on the training field. As per a report, United are already working with Rangnick ahead of his appointment to implement a number of changes.
As such, the Daily Telegraph claims Rangnick has gained access to videos of training ground sessions under Solskjaer.
Rangnick wants to study the footage and produce in-depth analysis of the current squad from different camera angles.
And the paper reports that major changes to training are likely – including the introduction of his infamous countdown clock.
As per James Ducker, Rangnick will introduce the very visible ticker at Carrington training sessions to encourage a high-intensity workout.
The German is widely seen as the Godfather of the gegenpress – a style much-used by Jurgen Klopp. The high-intensity pressing game has been a major facet of the Merseysiders’ success under Klopp.
But a more intense version of that now looks likely at United.
Under Rangnick’s plans, he will also install an ‘eight-second role’ at Carrington. This requires players to win the ball within eight seconds before producing a shot on goal within 10 seconds of successfully reclaiming possession.
Players will also be able to hear the countdown clock during their drills. And Rangnick hopes that will increase intensity and produce quick results.
And at a stage of the season where United need it most, the change is likely to shake-up United’s training sessions in the extreme.