Manchester United have reached an agreement with Ralf Rangnick to become the club’s new interim boss.
The Red Devils parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday following their 4-1 hammering by Watford, with the club languishing in eighth position in the league table.
United have conducted a search for a new interim boss to take the reins until the end of the season, with Rangnick among a shortlist of candidates including Rudi Garcia, Lucien Favre, Paulo Fonseca and Ernesto Valverde.
And now an agreement has been reached with Rangnick, which will see him leave his position as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow to take up the interim role.
The Russian club still have to agree to release Rangnick from his contract, although United are understood to not view this as an obstacle to the 63-year-old taking the helm.
Regarded as the ‘Godfather of German football’, Rangnick’s modern coaching has revolutionised the game in his homeland. He will take up a two-year consultancy role once his six-month stint in charge comes to an end.
Rangnick is understood to have flown into Manchester at the start of the week to hold talks with the club. He rejected an initial offer to take charge, but has since accepted new terms.
Rangnick will not be in charge for Sunday’s trip to Chelsea due to work permit reasons. The 63-year-old has previously managed Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.
He has more recently taken up roles as director of football at Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig before moving to Russia. He also had a stint as Leipzig boss.
Manchester United have reached an agreement to name Ralf Rangnick interim manager
Mauricio Pochettino (left) is the club’s No 1 target to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right)
Rangnick has a track record of developing youngsters and laid the foundations at Salzburg and Leipzig for the likes of Erling Haaland, Timo Werner and Dayot Upamecano to flourish.
While United have experienced players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, the Red Devils boast a relatively young squad with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood still in the early stages of their careers.
It remains to be seen whether Rangnick opts to keep hold of Solskjaer’s backroom staff who did not leave with the Norwegian over the weekend.
Kieran McKenna, Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick are still at Old Trafford – with the latter overseeing United’s 2-0 win over Villarreal in midweek.
United have struck terms with Rangnick, who will take a consultancy role after his stint ends
It remains to be seen whether Rangnick (left) keeps hold of Solskjaer’s old staff, including Michael Carrick (right)
United have opted to appoint an interim boss after acknowledging that landing their prime target – Mauricio Pochettino – is too difficult at this stage.
Although PSG on Wednesday denied that an official approach for Pochettino has been rejected, Sportsmail understands United had tried to discreetly ascertain through a third party whether a move to install the former Tottenham boss as permanent manager as soon as possible would be a realistic option.
However, PSG have refused to let the Argentine depart mid-season and disrupt their campaign, although he is expected to re-emerge as a leading candidate for the United job in the summer, once Rangnick’s term ends.
Although committing to two separate managerial appointments is a peculiar strategy, the Old Trafford hierarchy are said to be satisfied that an interim would provide stability and momentum while giving them the freedom to install a permanent replacement at the end of the season.
Rangnick boasts an impressive track record with youngsters which will be crucial for the development of Marcus Rashford (L) and Mason Greenwood (R)
Jadon Sancho has struggled to make an impact but will hope to make his mark under Rangnick
It also suggests that United know their preferred target will not be available until the summer — whether that is Pochettino or someone else. Ideally, they would have kept Solskjaer in charge until then but United’s alarming dip in form forced the club into a change of plan.
During his time as Leipzig and Salzburg technical director, Rangnick placed a huge emphasis on scouting and developing players. He stunned bosses when he laid out his plans to sell on players for double figures within two years of their arrival.
‘You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to achieve here,’ Solskjaer said in an emotional farewell.
‘For the club, for the fans, for the players, for the staff. I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies and I only think it’s right that it comes from the horse’s mouth.
‘It’s been a ball. Let’s keep supporting this team, you’ve got to stick with them. They [the fans] have been amazing with me since one of my first kicks of the ball, I scored with one of the first ones, until now.
‘I’m sure we’ll meet again because if there’s anywhere I’m going to watch football games, that’s at Old Trafford.’
Rangnick will be tasked with getting United up the table after a poor start to the campaign