Could Ralf Rangnick still be the manager of Manchester United next season?
The Old Trafford hierarchy are said to have noted ‘how he steadied the ship against a troubled backdrop’ and are ‘interested’ to see what he can achieve between now and the end of the season.
Could Rangnick carry on in charge?
It’s news that won’t necessarily come as music to the ears of United fans with the appointment of managers like Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane proving much more popular in the summer.
However, snapping up world-class coaches isn’t always easy and perhaps the Red Devils really will look to stop Rangnick from going upstairs if he can steer the club to a strong end to the season.
And seeing as that’s even a possibility if reports are to be believed, we couldn’t help going down the rabbit hole of what United would look like in a world where they did back Rangnick in the long term.
Besides, while it’s unlikely that United can execute any major transfers in the final days of the January transfer window, there’s no denying that they’ll loosen their purse strings in the summer.
Man Utd’s potential XI if Rangnick stays on
As such, here at GIVEMESPORT, we decided to take the hypothetical scenario and run with it by drawing up how United’s XI could look for the 2022/23 season if Rangnick stays in charge.
It’s impossible to be certain about what will happen over the next six months, so there’s inevitably a degree of inference and guessing going on here, but we’re not trying to be wholly unrealistic either.
So, without further ado, be sure to look into a world where United still have Rangnick in the dugout next season by checking out their potential line-up down below:
Not bad, huh? Not bad.
So, what’s our thinking?
With Rangnick’s experiments in the 4-2-2-2 formation not exactly having the desired impact, we’re tipping him to persist with the 4-2-3-1 that has bore more fruit for the Red Devils in recent weeks.
It’s a system that is starting to see United getting the better out of Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, so we’re not going to reinvent the wheel by changing the core of Rangnick’s attack.
Similarly, Scott McTominay keeps his place as one of the top performers of the Rangnick era and there’s not a chance in hell that Raphael Varane or David de Gea will be losing their spots.
We’re also backing Jadon Sancho to start finding his best form again on the left flank, while Mason Greenwood will continue to be a favourite under the German ahead of Marcus Rashford and co.
Elsewhere, we’re confident that Harry Maguire will start rediscovering his 2020/21 form to usurp Victor Lindelof again and that Alex Telles will continue to get the nod over Luke Shaw at left-back.
But onto the signings because that’s the juicy part and with Frenkie de Jong and Tariq Lamptey entering the fray in our hypothetical world, we’re aiming for quality over quantity in key positions.
There’s no denying that United’s priority would be a holding midfielder and De Jong, who is increasingly seeming less and less untouchable at Barcelona, fits Rangnick’s system hand in glove.
With McTominay doing the gut-busting gegenpressing by his side, De Jong would shine in the Premier League with his metronomic passing and underrated dribbling as either a No. 6 or No. 8.
While, yes, his contract at Camp Nou doesn’t expire until 2026, Barcelona’s financial crisis could persuade them to part ways early and we simply think that he’s more gettable than Declan Rice.
Meanwhile, right-back continues to be a priority for United with neither Aaron Wan-Bissaka nor Diogo Dalot performing consistently enough to suggest that signing Lamptey wouldn’t be a good move.
The Daily Mail reported earlier this month that the Red Devils have a ‘strong interest’ in Lamptey, who not only fits Rangnick’s typical age profile but can also play at both full-back and wing-back.
Were United to get Dalot off their books to avoid a logjam of right-backs, then Rangnick could do a lot worse things than splashing £40 million on one of the league’s most exciting young defenders.
An exciting prospect
And breathe. So, a world where United keep Rangnick in charge doesn’t look too terrible, does it?
While Rangnick has certainly done a solid job at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, there’s no denying that a deviation from the original plan of him moving upstairs in the summer would be met with groans.
However, in a world where United can snap up the signings that we’ve outlined above, then there are a lot worse scenarios that could possibly unfold if the club can’t secure a top-class coaching alternative.