Manchester United’s players are split on the appointment of Erik ten Hag, with doubts stemming from their concerns over the growing influence of Ralf Rangnick on club affairs, 90min understands.
Rangnick was appointed as the club’s interim manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, though he has had to contend with numerous examples of unrest among the playing staff since taking over.
The German quickly had to abandon plans to implement his favored playing style on the squad, and has found it difficult to turn around the club’s on-pitch fortunes. Some players are believed to dislike his coaching methods and said unrest has manifested on the pitch in recent months-with United set to miss out on Champions League qualification.
A number of players are said to be ‘mystified’ by Rangnick’s involvement at the club, according to sources, with Rangnick in recent weeks becoming more publicly vocal with his belief that big changes need to be made at the end of the season. He called for ‘open-heart surgery’ to be performed on the club last week.
While results have not been good, Rangnick’s honesty about club issues has been appreciated by fans who recognize that such issues exist and need to be fixed.
Though not directly involved in the recruitment process of Ten Hag – who will succeed Rangnick as manager at the end of the season – Rangnick confirmed following the Dutchman’s appointment that he had given his endorsement for his hire to United football director John Murtough. This was reported by 90min in early March, though disputed elsewhere at the time.
Listen now to 90min’s brand new podcast, Talking Transferswith Scott Saunders & Graeme Bailey. Toby Cudworth joins the show again this week to discuss how Erik ten Hag’s appointment may affect Man Utd’s pursuit of Paul Mitchell. There is also chat on the futures of Jesse Lingard & David de Gea and a look at what Newcastle are planning for this summer.
Ten Hag’s appointment has in turn strengthened Rangnick’s position. Murtough remains a huge fan of the former RB Leipzig coach and sporting director, and has leaned on his experiences of him throughout the process as United look to pivot away from years of bad decision making at board level. Rangnick is described as one of Murtough’s main confidants.
90min revealed in early April that the concerns in the squad over Ten Hag’s appointment was due to the influence Rangnick held over it, and this has since been confirmed. It’s also thought that Rangnick’s continued presence at Old Trafford has meant a number of players fearing for their future at United – with talk of a clear-out strong on Rangnick’s part.
Murtough and other parts of the hierarchy have appreciated Rangnick’s input in recent weeks, and there now appears to be little appetite to side-track him. He is due to move into a consultancy role when the season finishes and Ten Hag takes over, although at this point some sources believe the role could be further-reaching than previously anticipated.
Ten Hag is believed to have informed Murtough that he has no problem working with Rangnick – nor indeed another name who has been linked with a move to United in recent weeks, Paul Mitchell.
Rangnick is also believed to have had input on a potential new United sporting director, and 90min understands that he has put forward the benefits of United working with Mitchell, a world-renowned recruiter who currently works as sporting director of AS Monaco.
Mitchell has also previously worked at Tottenham and alongside Rangnick at RB Leipzig.
While further changes could be made to the structure around Ten Hag as he settles in to life at Old Trafford, Ten Hag is also pushing the club to finalize deals for his first choice assistant managers – Mitchell van de Gaag and Steve McClaren.
It is thought that United have approved the appointments, though they are not yet finalized.