Former Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick is reportedly in line for a blockbuster move next, with the Spanish press backing him to replace Xavi at Barcelona.
The La Liga giants are in a similar position to Liverpool as they must find a new manager over the summer. But while Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool as he has ran out of energy, Xavi feels he is no longer the right person to help Barcelona reach their lofty ambitions.
As would be expected with a club the size of Barca, plenty of top managers have been linked with the role. Reports claim the Blaugrana have been trying to convince Klopp into a U-turn by moving straight to Catalonia at the end of the campaign, rather than taking a year out.
Barca president Joan Laporta is also a big fan of Mikel Arteta amid the fantastic work he is doing at Arsenal. Other options include former Bayern Munich and Germany boss Hansi Flick, Barca B team manager Rafael Marquez and Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso, who is also wanted by Liverpool.
But according to Spanish outlet Sport (as cited by The Sun), Barca are prepared to go in a very different direction. It is claimed that Laporta ‘really likes’ Rangnick and is seriously considering appointing the 65-year-old.
Rangnick has good pedigree, having played a crucial role in the success of RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg. He has managed both clubs during his career and has also been in charge of their transfer strategies.
The German is currently contracted to the Austrian national team until June 2026, but Barca are aiming to land him before the start of the 2024-25 season.
Rangnick is not only a transfer mastermind, but he is also known as the ‘Godfather of the Gegenpress’, a very successful tactic which has been used by Klopp at Liverpool.
Ralf Rangnick could replace Xavi at Barcelona
Despite this, Man Utd fans will be shocked if Rangnick is named as Barca’s manager over the summer. He was in charge at Old Trafford between December 2021 and May 2022, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Man Utd supporters were excited to see Rangnick bring his Gegenpress tactics to the Premier League and help the Red Devils improve after a poor start to the season. However, they went on to endure their worst-ever Prem season in terms of points gained, finishing in sixth place on just 58 points.
Rangnick became a controversial figure for his outspoken post-match interviews, during which he would slate how the club was being run and pointed out the differences between Man Utd and their rivals, such as Liverpool.
The one-time German cup winner was supposed to take up a two-year consultancy role at Man Utd following the end of his spell as interim manager, to help the club in their rebuild. But he did not see eye to eye with the Man Utd hierarchy and both parties ended up scrapping this idea, with Rangnick soon becoming the new Austria boss.
Should Barca officially bring Rangnick in, then it will be interesting to see if he manages to make them successful, or if his disappointing Man Utd spell is repeated.