Why Manchester United hire Ralf Rangnick as interim coach in place of Ernesto Valverde, Lucien Favre

Just before 9:30 a.m. on March 10, it was clear that some big news was coming for Manchester United.

At midday, Confirmation arrives that the club has hired their first director of football. Of all the names associated with the appointment, the man who took the job has not really been mentioned.

John Murtough is a man not very well known to those outside the walls of Old Trafford and Carrington.

THAN: Manchester United appoint Rangnick as interim manager

Google searches for his name increased rapidly in the hours following his appointment. And while supporters of the match know nothing about Murtough – or his background at the club – key people at other clubs have become acquainted with him.

Since the 2018-19 season, Murtough has toured around Europe to introduce himself to top football figures. That was the first time he met Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig.

The pair have been on good terms and that helped in negotiations when United contacted the 63-year-old on an interim basis last weekend.

After making the decision to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Saturday night following the Premier League defeat to Watford, the conversation turned to a shortlist of interim managers to take charge.

It looks like the club can’t get the first choice, permanent mid-season appointment. An experienced coach to watch them through until the end of the current campaign before bringing others in Therefore, is the most suitable option.

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It is understood there was a shortlist of five names for the temporary job, and conversations led by Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher, were held with Ernesto Valverde and Lucien Favre. Rangnick, though, was at the top of their list.

Of the five candidates, one of whom is Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui, there are “a few very good options”, according to sources, but Rangnick stands out the most during the interview process.

United management was impressed with Rangnick’s clear plans for how to get the team out of the slump they had been in.

The Germans were persuaded to take the role after talks were held to offer him a two-year consulting position after his contract as interim manager ends in the summer.

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It is understood that on Sunday he had initial reservations about his move from Lokomotiv Moscow, where he is reportedly happy, to take up a temporary position. However, the opportunity to be involved behind the scenes has attracted the former coach Hoffenheim.

Sources say Ed Woodward pushed for that advisory role because he believes Rangnick’s “unbelievable knowledge and experience” will be key to helping those at the board level.

Woodward is still expected to officially step down as executive vice president later this year but it is likely he will also be available in an advisory role.

It is assumed that Richard Arnold, the current team chief executive officer, will take over from Woodward but he has no knowledge of football and it is hoped that Rangnick’s extensive football knowledge will be immensely helpful. .

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Rangnick is expected to join the conversations being held about who will replace him as permanent coach, with Mauricio Pochettino as the current top choice. For now, however, his sole focus is on improving things on the pitch.

Michael Carrick’s decision to let Cristiano Ronaldo play against Chelsea on Sunday has led to suggestions that Rangnick has had an influence.

Carrick, and club sources, denied that was the case and suggested that Rangnick was giving advice to Fletcher through a headset that was also turned off. Fletcher is actually communicating with analysts, who sit higher up in the stands at Stamford Bridge.

Rangnick intends to bring in a “small number” of his own staff, but the club’s core coaching staff will remain the same.

Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Mike Phelan are all expected to retain their roles while Carrick continues to lead the team until Rangnick’s work permit is approved by the UK government.

That won’t happen before United face Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday night, with the club having confirmed just as much.

However, fans always have to wait a little while to see the impact of the plans and philosophies he impressed in his interview.

In theory, he’s the ideal candidate to get the team back where they want to be. Now he has to put that into practice.

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