Manchester United are on the verge of appointing Ralf Rangnick on a six-month deal as their new interim manager following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking.
The 63-year-old has reached an agreement with the Red Devils over taking over on an interim basis until the end of the season, before taking up a two-year consultancy role at Old Trafford.
The German arrives at the club with a stellar CV and a reputation to match, given how he is often regarded as a true visionary and as the ‘Godfather of the Gegenpress’ – a quick-paced brand of football employed by the likes of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
Manchester United have agreed a deal to hire Ralf Rangnick as their new interim manager
Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea, Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann and Klopp have all named Rangnick as a vital influence – and there are comparisons between them all and Rangnick’s style of play.
With the ball, Rangnick’s teams are fast and aggressive with a lot of forward passing, but without it they are quick to get the ball back and relentless in their pressing game.
This electric style of play and identity will be a breath of fresh air for United fans desperate to see their side attack with the flair and intensity that has long been associated with their rivals.
Rangnick is regarded as the ‘godfather of gegenpressing’ and has influenced Tuchel and Klopp
But to fulfil that certain style of play and philsophy means that some of the current personnel on United’s books will either flourish or be surplus to requirements under the new regime.
But who will Rangnick look to carry out his instructions and who just isn’t fit for purpose?
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at who is set to benefit from Rangnick’s arrival, and those who are set to lose out…
One of the main men to flourish under Solskjaer’s stewardship before being pushed out wide following Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival, Mason Greenwood looks set to benefit again under Rangnick with the German preferring to play two up top rather than just a solitary figure.
Given how Rangnick likes his teams to press from the front, Greenwood would be the perfect foil for this while his incredible ability to shoot with either foot sees him become an ideal candidate to carry out United’s new boss’s wishes.
Still only 19, Greenwood’s stock is already sky high at the club and the right system and coaching could see it rise even further.
Mason Greenwood’s athleticism and raw ability could be just what Rangnick is looking for
Another one of Solskjaer’s loyal recruits, Marcus Rashford will be another academy graduate to benefit from Rangnick’s arrival.
The German will hope to utilise both Rashford’s and Greenwood’s athleticism, given they would be required to close down defenders whenever not in possession.
Rashford can also look to how Timo Werner excelled under Rangnick during their time at RB Leipzig, which saw the German enjoy some of his best football to date before being bought by Chelsea, where he has often struggled.
Marcus Rashford (pictured) could be paired up top with Greenwood under Rangnick
It just hasn’t quite worked out for Jadon Sancho since he got his dream move from Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer.
The forward has scored just one goal and is yet to assist in 15 appearances for his new club – a far cry from his dazzling displays back in Germany.
But for a manager who thrived in the Bundesliga, Rangnick could be just the man to get a tune out of Sancho and get him back to his best.
New ideas could allow Sancho to flourish, which is exactly what the next entry will surely benefit from…
Jadon Sancho finally broke his duck for United when he scored against Villarreal on Tuesday
Donny van de Beek
After being left on the bench time and time again by Solskjaer, Donny van de Beek could finally be granted a shot at redemption at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer refused to use the midfielder during his time as manager and it was somewhat ironic that the Dutchman scored the final goal in the Norwegian boss’s reign at United, as the Red Devils were thumped 4-1 by Watford at Vicarage Road.
Now Van de Beek will be ecstatic at finally being given the chance to prove himself, especially how he is the ideal fit for a system like the one Rangnick deploys.
Van de Beek’s time at Ajax saw him labelled as one of the most exciting midfielders of his generation and Erik ten Hag’s high-pressing and intense style of play that saw him thrive will likely give him a leg up when it comes to who plays in midfield.
Donny van de Beek could flourish in a new system similar to the one he played in at Ajax
While he may have bailed Solskjaer out on many occasions this season, it appears as if the writing may be on the wall for Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese forward remains one of football’s deadliest strikers in front of goal but the 36-year-old could be dropped in favour for younger talent – especially given how Rangnick labelled Ronaldo as ‘too old’ five years ago when he was at RB Leipzig.
When asked back in 2016 if he’d ever sign Ronaldo or Messi, Rangnick said: ‘It would be absurd to think that it could work with them here. They are both too old and too expensive.’
It remains to be seen if Rangnick will make a special case for someone like Ronaldo – especially if he gets the five-time Champions League winner to start pressing from the front – but his previous comments will be a worrying sign for those who adore the lethal goalscorer.
Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to rescue his side as things went from bad to worse for United
David de Gea
It must be said that David de Gea deserves to keep his spot as No 1 given how he’s been performing lately.
The Spaniard saved two penalties in that damning 4-1 defeat by Watford and did not deserve to be on the losing side. He has also produced a number of fine saves in both the Premier League and Champions League as of late.
However, Rangnick’s style of play may not suit De Gea and the type of goalkeeper he is. While the German doesn’t want his defenders to pass backwards – which is good for De Gea – Rangnick desire to play a high defensive line would suit Dean Henderson more, given how the Englishman is more than willing to come out of his box and play the sweeper-keeper role.
De Gea is much more reluctant to do so and is one of the world’s best shot-stoppers on his day. But given how Henderson, 24, is seven years younger that De Gea, it would make sense for Rangnick to move on the Spain international in the near future.
De Gea has been a standout performer as of late but his long-term future may be in doubt
After enjoying one of his best years in football, Luke Shaw’s form this campaign has taken quite the nose-dive.
His lapses in concentration against Manchester City last month eventually proved to be costly for Solskjaer, with the left back struggling to reproduce the performances that made him one of the standout stars for England at the Euros in the summer.
And Rangnick revealed before the 2020-21 campaign that he already has doubts over Shaw’s ability in the position.
‘I also think that they could do with a left-back,’ Rangnick said when asked who United needed to sign last year. ‘I know they have Luke Shaw but I’m not so sure if he’s still on the same level that you need to be for a club like Manchester United.’
Rangnick revealed he had doubts over Luke Shaw’s ability before the 2020-21 campaign
Like Ronaldo and Shaw, Rangnick has already had his say on Paul Pogba from during his time at Leipzig.
The German helped Naby Keita develop into one of Europe’s most sought-after midfielders and Rangnick was desperate to keep him at Leipzig at all costs.
Before Keita got his move to Liverpool, Rangnick stated back in 2017 that he ‘wouldn’t swap Keita for Paul Pogba’ as the Frenchman didn’t fit their style of play.
It remains to be seen if Rangnick could make use of Pogba’s talents but with the midfielder out injured and yet to sign a new contract, making him a free agent at the end of the season, it appears as if his second spell at Old Trafford could be drawing to a close.
Rangnick said in 2017 that Paul Pogba wouldn’t suit his style of play while he was at Leipzig