Since stories first emerged about Ralf Rangnick’s imminent arrival at Manchester United, much has been said about the huge impact he could make at the struggling club.
Although his arrival has been delayed by work permit issues, that hasn’t stemmed a growing belief that the German could instigate something of a behind-the-scenes revolution.
According to a report by Hendrik Buchheister in Germany’s Frankfurter Rundschau, one of the possible beneficiaries of Rangnick’s arrival could be big summer signing Jadon Sancho.
Much was made of Sancho’s initial struggles at Old Trafford. In fact, the former Dortmund ace has only recently started to rediscover the form that made him one of Europe’s brightest talents.
And, as other reports have suggested, the outlet claims that the 63-year-old could look to make the improving starlet a central figure as he aims to get to grips with a club they describe as “a complicated beast”.
Elsewhere in the report, it’s claimed that Rangnick’s influence is already being felt, with Sunday’s team selection against Chelsea being put forward as evidence.
Although current interim Michael Carrick denied that the German played any part in the creditable draw, it’s suggested that the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo – and decision to play two strikers – signalled his involvement.
The thorny issue of where Ronaldo fits in the post-Solskjaer era is viewed as being one of the new manager’s most pressing dilemmas. With ‘pressing’ being the all-important word.
Can and will Rangnick accommodate United’s luxury superstar? And how will Ronaldo react to the expected sea-change in formation and tactics? It’s a fascinating subtext to what could turn out to be a turbulent induction.
Aside from team selection, the report also discusses the internal politics that will need to be negotiated for the new interim to succeed.
It’s suggested that upheaval in the club’s hierarchy – such as the outgoing Ed Woodward and inexperienced personnel – will make the job of ‘managing upwards’ more complex.
Additionally, handling a ‘pro-Ole’ media set that includes the outspoken Gary Neville is seen as adding further layers of difficulty to the host of challenges already stuffed into Rangnick’s inbox.
While it’s largely hearsay and speculation, there’s little doubt that the ‘Godfather of gegenpressing’ has plenty of big decisions to make and relatively little time to make them.
Even so, these concerns about the future probably won’t be enough to stem the current feeling of optimism around the club. For United fans, it seems that the bright, new era can’t come soon enough.