Manchester United are close to appointing Ralf Rangnick as the club’s interim manager after parting ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week.
The 63-year-old cannot say that he has had a trophy-laden career, but his football philosophies have inspired the likes of Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp.
Rangnick has made a name for himself recently as a sporting director.
A real pioneer
His work at RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg has earned him mass admiration across Europe. However, he will have to return to the sidelines for the next six months to put Manchester United’s derailing season back on track.
Rangnick will take over a technical role at Man United once the season is over.
For the time being, however, he will get back to the drawing board and try to formulate a plan to launch a Manchester United turn around.
The former Schalke manager prefers playing a high-pressing brand of football.
He pioneered the famous gegenpress, which we see modern German managers use so often nowadays.
So, we can expect a similar high-intensity style at Manchester United for the remainder of this season.
Who will be Rangnick’s picks?
At goal, David de Gea is the automatic choice.
Some might question his passing abilities and argue that he is not a good fit for building from the back, which so many managers prefer in the modern landscape.
But, his shot-stopping ability is beyond question. The Spanish international has been one of the few Man United stars who have caught the eye this season, so he is guaranteed to keep his place.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will be the back four we expect Rangnick to go for.
Forward thrusting fullbacks are mandatory in a high-press system, so both Bissaka and Shaw will be a taking up more advanced positions during attacking transitions.
Shaw bagged six assists last season and also occasionally plays as a wingback for England, so he can be a good fit for this system.
However, Rangnick was quoted in 2020 that he does not feel Luke Shaw is good enough to be the first choice fullback for Manchester United.
Wan-Bissaka, on the other hand, likes to stay a bit deeper, so he might take some time to get adjusted to Rangnick’s approach.
Perhaps, United will go for a pair of new fullbacks in the January window if Shaw and Bissaka fail to adapt.
Harry Maguire has been all over the place defensively lately, but playing alongside someone as experienced as Varane regularly might bring out the best in him.
Rangnick has favoured variations of 4-4-2 in most of his career, but considering Man United’s midfield options, he might resort to the structure he used at Hoffenheim; a 4-3-3.
Pogba might get sidelined
We expect Donny van de Beek to get more game time under Rangnick, who could deploy him as a box-to-box midfielder.
Paul Pogba might not make the cut since we saw him frequently struggle playing a deeper midfield role at Man United.
Fred will anchor the midfield, while Bruno Fernandes will be handed the license to work his magic further up the pitch playing as a hybrid playmaker.
Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Marcus Rashford will constitute the front three.
With support from onrushing fullbacks, Sancho can unleash his attacking abilities playing as an inside forward and operate closely to Ronaldo.
The same can be said for Rashford on the opposite flank.
Rangnick will be hoping to outnumber the opposition defence with the combination of high flying fullbacks and a lethal attacking trio.