Ralf Rangnick has discussed the changes in structure and identity Manchester United must go through if they are to again compete at the Premier League’s summit.
Questions about United’s footballing structure have been rife for a few years now at Old Trafford, with the club’s trophy drought extending to five years this season — their last league triumph nearly a decade ago.
Rangnick has a glittering CV especially in football director roles, having overseen RB Leipzig’s stunning rise through German football in the past decade. He’s been United’s interim head coach since December but is set to move into a consultancy position with Erik ten Hag moving from Ajax as manager.
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Rangnick was asked to discuss the difference in United’s footballing structure to the ones in which he worked in Germany. And he sent a warning to United and their Glazer owners about how they should divide tasks, and ensure they appoint the right people in recruitment and football director jobs. United finally appointed two chiefs — John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director — a year ago.
“In Germany we have a head coach and then there is usually a minimum of two skilled people continuously in the club on a longer-term basis responsible for recruitment, scouting and any daily operation,” Rangnick told SkySports.
“They also bring in the right and best possible head coach for the team. This still hasn’t got a big tradition here and so the job of a sporting director or director of football — only a few clubs have that.
“I know that for the future, and I think even more so for a big club like Manchester United, you can’t put all those jobs and tasks and the whole responsibility only on the shoulder of one person — on the manager. I’ m not sure if this can be dealt with by one person, no matter how good he is.
“I know Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea also have smart people who take care of recruitment, scouting, the medical department… I think this is also an issue for our club, where they have to pay attention to.”
Rangnick added that United should be looking to build a long-term identity over the next five to 10 years and make their managerial appointments and player signings around that structure — as he did in Germany.
“Well, that’s it. That’s what we actually did both in Hoffenheim and with Leipzig and Salzburg,” he added. “But again, this is rather the exception to the rule.
“It is one possible pathway that you have people who more or less tell the club and the supporters what our corporate identity should be and how do we want to play. What kind of manager do we need in order to play like that, and what kind of players? As I said, this role has so far not a big tradition in this country, and I don’t know if this can or will happen in the future.”
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