Ralf Rangnick, 63, is head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow; Manchester United continue negotiations to secure German's release; Michael Carrick is in temporary charge and is expected to lead the team against Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports
Friday 26 November 2021 15:11, UK
Manchester United are hopeful of reaching an agreement with Lokomotiv Moscow for Ralf Rangnick to be released to become the club's interim manager in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Negotiations between the clubs have been positive, with Rangnick currently manager of sports and development at the Russian club.
Rangnick, 63, will apply for a work permit once an agreement is reached, with the German expected to remain at United for two years beyond the season in a consultancy role.
He is currently in Moscow after attending his current club's Europa League match against Lazio on Thursday.
No specific game has been targeted for the opening game of Rangnick's interim spell in charge at Old Trafford.
As it stands, Michael Carrick is still expected to be in charge for Sunday's Premier League game at Chelsea, live on Sky Sports. United are then next in action against Arsenal in the league on November 2.
Carrick was placed in temporary charge while United sought to appoint an interim boss following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday.
The former Manchester United midfielder oversaw the 2-0 victory at Villarreal on Tuesday which secured the club's progress to the last 16 of the Champions League.
Former Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde and former Lyon head coach Rudi Garcia had also been considered for the interim role.
United are planning to make a permanent appointment at the end of the season and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is their first choice, with Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag also in their thinking.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Carrick would not be drawn on reports that United are poised to name Rangnick as interim manager.
"From my point of view there's a lot of speculation and reports, but as I'm sitting here now I'm preparing the team for the game (against Chelsea on Sunday)," Carrick said.
"My head's in the game. I haven't got any more news to share with you on that front. I'm just looking forward to getting down to London to play against Chelsea."
Carrick added that whoever comes in, United's squad has the ability to quickly adapt to a change in style.
"I think you can get ideas across quite quickly," he said. "History shows that. Sometimes it's not just about ideas, it's just a different voice, a freshness, and history proves that for whatever reason. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not so well.
"That's the nature of life and we'll see what happens in the days to come.
"There are lots of different styles in football. We've got a good group of players. Whoever comes in I'm sure they can adapt. There's real talent and good people, good human beings in the squad so we'll look forward to what's ahead."
Ahead of another fixture against one of the Premier League title contenders, Carrick said confidence in the squad was up following Tuesday's win over Villarreal.
"It was a big boost and a much-needed win for lots of reasons," he said. "First and foremost for the players to have that feeling again, there's a bit of confidence, a bit of belief that I'm sure they lost.
"It's another massive game for us. These are the ones you've got to enjoy, you've got to embrace, testing yourself against a team that's playing very well."
Rangnick, one of the most respected names in German football, oversaw the rise of the Red Bull group of clubs in Europe as head coach and sporting director of RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg.
He is credited with having influenced Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel and Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann among many others.
Rangnick has long been recognised as one of the first people behind the 'gegenpress', which translates as 'counter-press'; the high-pressing, all-out running style adopted with great success by Klopp.
He has been linked with a move to the Premier League a number of times before, in both a managerial and sporting director role.
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
Rangnick describes it as his "football epiphany". It was February 1983 and, aged 25, he was serving as player-manager of Viktoria Backnang, a small-town team in Germany's sixth tier, when Valeriy Lobanovskiy's Dynamo Kiev turned up for a mid-season friendly.
Lobanovskiy's side were regarded as the strongest in the Soviet Union and it was no surprise they easily swatted their amateur opponents aside. But the manner in which they did it made a lasting impression on Rangnick, a bewildered figure in central midfield.
"A few minutes in, when the ball had gone out for a throw, I had to stop and count the opposition players," he recalls in Raphael Honigstein's book, Das Reboot.
"That was the first time I felt what it was like to come up against a team who systematically pressed the ball."
Lobanovskiy's relentless, organised pressing tactics would form the basis of Rangnick's own philosophy, one he would later implement at a string of clubs including Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, helping to revolutionise German football, inspire a generation of coaches including Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, and, ultimately, take him to the Manchester United hotseat.
Analysis from German football expert Raphael Honigstein...
"I'm a little bit surprised because of course before he had an opportunity with Chelsea before Thomas Tuchel came in last January, at that moment he felt that just four months in that role would not have been enough time.
"With United it is a different story. Firstly, there is still two thirds of the season to go. Secondly, I think it is the 'United factor', there is a romance, a glamour attached to the role meaning it is very difficult to turn down especially if you look at the number of amazing players at his disposal.
"Not to work with them I think would have been very difficult for someone who still has so much passion for the job. Thirdly, I think United have been very smart in realising that they might not want to commit themselves to having him as the coach for the next three or four years. Maybe they have something different, maybe they have someone else lined up for next summer.
"But they have a chance to get this guy through the door, tap into his knowledge and seek his help when it comes to setting up the academy, working with coaches, optimising the transfer strategy, all the things where United have been really punching below their weight a little bit.
"I think as a package it is very difficult to turn down and it really works well for him and for United."
Michael Carrick spoke to Sky Sports' Laura Woods ahead of Manchester United's game against Chelsea on Super Sunday:
"My future is the next two or three days, that's as far as I'm prepared to look. Football is that kind of business where you never know what's around the corner at the best of times. All my energy, my mind, is on Sunday.
"I didn't have to ask too many questions, it happened very quickly. This is my role for now, however long it may be.
"It's not about how much I want to do this or how long, it's about what's asked of me really. At the moment I'm enjoying it for what it is, I understand what it is and my responsibilities but I'm literally looking at this next game. It's such a big challenge. Whatever happens after that we'll have to wait and see."
November 28: Chelsea (a) - Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
December 2: Arsenal (h) - Premier League, kick-off 8.15pm
December 5: Crystal Palace (h) - Premier League, kick-off 2pm
December 8: Young Boys (h) - Champions League, kick-off 8pm
December 11: Norwich (a) - Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports