Home » Ralf Rangnick had earmarked Manuel Akanji for Manchester United move

Ralf Rangnick had earmarked Manuel Akanji for Manchester United move

Swiss defender is currently starring for City

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Erik ten Hag was on hand to watch Manchester United slump to yet another defeat in their final league encounter against Crystal Palace last season.

The need for defensive improvement was apparent and the Dutch manager chose to bring in two left-footed defenders due to the lack of balance.

First to arrive was Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord followed by Lisandro Martinez from Ten Hag’s former club Ajax. The United manager chose to bring in players he knew beforehand, a very reasonable strategy.

Ten Hag’s plans

Both have proved to be astute signings, with Malacia displacing Luke Shaw and Martinez occupying Harry Maguire‘s spot in the starting line-up.

Martinez has quickly become a fan-favourite with his all-action displays and his superior passing ability, helping United to a four-match winning streak in the league.

But things could have been very different had interim manager Ralf Rangnick stayed on as part of his initial consultancy deal.

Rangnick ended up leaving United and has since gone on to become Austrian national team manager.

Transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano mentioned in his exclusive CaughtOffside column that the player the German had earmarked for United was Manuel Akanji, then a player of Borussia Dortmund.

Rangnick had other ideas

Akanji ended up moving to city rivals Manchester City on Deadline Day, and has been impressive for Pep Guardiola’s side. He is set to face United in the Manchester Derby on Sunday.

“This summer, Manuel Akanji was also an option for Man United’s defence.

“However, it didn’t happen because he was mainly admired by Ralf Rangnick, who then left his position at Old Trafford. City then moved for him late on in the window,” Romano added.

The Swiss international was a childhood United fan and had mentioned in his past interviews. He has since backtracked on those comments after a sealing the move to City.

United have not done too badly with Martinez and the defensive duo of Martinez and Raphael Varane will be hoping to excel against in-form Erling Haaland as United look to maintain their winning momentum.

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