Ralf Rangnick was unveiled as the new Manchester United interim boss on Friday, and suggested he could stay on longer than just six months.
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Right now the plan is for Rangnick, 63, to take charge of United until the summer and he will then move into a ‘consultancy role’ for two years at the club to help them develop their philosophy on and off the pitch.
The first game of his interim period in charge is at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace on Sunday (watch live, 9am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), as he is expected to lay the foundations for a new manager to come in this summer.
However, when asked at his press conference about the possibility of staying in charge beyond this summer, Ralf Rangnick left the door wide open.
“I mean, the people with whom I have spoken so far have been very clear that we’re talking about a six-and-a-half-month role as a manager currently. We have never spoken about what will happen in the summer. Right now I’m fully aware they might be looking for a new manager,” Rangnick said.
“Maybe if they ask my opinion and everything goes well and we develop the team, I might even make the same recommendation to the board that I did at Leipzig twice, when I recommended it might be a good idea to keep working with me for one year. But this is all hypothetical. We cannot speak about that. For me now, it’s about winning the next games and this is the major focus.”
What do we make of this situation?
There is a carrot dangling in front of the face of Rangnick, United’s players and all of their coaching staff right now.
For the next six months everyone will be doing everything they can to impress the United hierarchy.
He is known for building the identity for Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, but he is also a fine coach on the training ground and his ideas about playing the game have led the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel to glory and widespread praise.
These comments suggest that Rangnick is seeing the next six months as a job interview rather than just a nice period to be in charge of United and then pass it on to someone else.
For United fans hoping Erik ten Hag, Mauricio Pochettino or Brendan Rodgers may come in this summer, it seems like Rangnick could be around longer than that.
With the Red Devils just three points off the top four going into this weekend, there is a real change for Rangnick to push United into the top four and go far in the Champions League and FA Cup.
The last time United had an interim manager it worked out pretty for the first few months, but we all know what happened after that. However, this feels very different and Rangnick’s resume speaks for itself.