Swooping for Rangnick is a shrewd move by the Man Utd hierarchy, but if he proves to be a success there will be an awkward situation to deal with come the summer
Ralf Rangnick’s appointment as Manchester United’s interim manager will bring one of Europe’s most progressive coaches to Old Trafford.
He will be a man with a plan, and he will give United an identity on the pitch – something that was missing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last days.
But it is just extraordinary that the Reds have backed themselves into a corner where Rangnick could be a great success and then still be asked to step aside for somebody else after six months.
If one of the world’s biggest football clubs is going to sack the manager, surely it makes sense to have his replacement lined up?
Aston Villa’s decision to fire Dean Smith looked harsh, but at least they knew who they wanted as his replacement. They went out and landed Steven Gerrard – swift, decisive, no messing.
Rangnick is revered as a godfather of heavy metal football in Germany.
He places a big accent on pressing, high intensity and putting opponents under pressure, and he was a major influence on Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Ralph Hasenhuttl.
So what happens if he comes in, finishes in the top four, wins the FA Cup and the Champions League?
It would leave United in the same situation where Chelsea found themselves in 2012, when Roberto Di Matteo came in to hold the fort and ended up winning the FA Cup and European Cup.
All the smoke signals suggest Mauricio Pochettino is the United board’s first choice to succeed Solskjaer on a permanent basis, even though Paris Saint-Germain insist he’s going nowhere, and if it was down to me, I would still go for Brendan Rodgers.
Rangnick could turn out to be the greatest stop-gap of all time, but on this occasion United must stick to their guns.
After six months, no matter how well he does, Rangnick will have to step aside and the club must allow their first choice manager a clear run.
But it was a shrewd move, on both sides, that the German will stay on at Old Trafford as a consultant for two years beyond his interim contract. So if the plan to appoint Pochettino goes wrong, at least there will be a fantastic football brain on tap.
I wasn’t convinced by the way Pochettino’s PSG team was set up against Manchester City on Wednesday. I saw seven players work their socks off to contain City, with three superstars – Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe – not doing their share of the workload to track back.
There are superstars to fit into the puzzle at United, too.
Pochettino will have to make sure they sacrifice their egos for work ethic, and I trust his blueprint would be closer to the model at Tottenham, where everyone bought into his methods and he reached a Champions League final.
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I also hope Michael Carrick will stay on at the club as part of the coaching hierarchy.
It was a brave move to drop Bruno Fernandes against Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and it worked. And I hope Darren Fletcher stays as technical director. He is another positive influence.
But I can’t get my head round Manchester United going from Solskjaer to a caretaker, an interim manager and finally a full-time head coach in the space of six months.
Four different voices calling the shots in just over half a season? That’s usually a sign of muddled thinking.