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Ralf Rangnick’s Departure Adds Pressure on John Murtough and Erik Ten Hag Heading Into the Summer

Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United, United vs City,

Manchester United officially announced the discontinuation of Ralf Rangnick as a part-time consultant role, with the club citing their former interim manager’s decision to solely focus on his management role with the Austrian international side.

Manchester United football club continues throwing curveballs at their fan base. After the club’s worst-ever Premier League season (58 points.), it appears the Red Devils have, arguably, topped it up with, potentially, their worst off-field decision in recent months. Rangnick’s potential departure was set in the works as early as March, but it was announced earlier this week.

The announcement caught United fans in a wave of mixed emotions. The majority claims this decision was taken to make Ralf the scapegoat for the team’s collective failure on the pitch and the club hierarchy’s incapacity to work with demanding and experienced footballing minds, ahead of a pivotal rebuild under Ten Hag.

Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United
Image Obtained via TEAMtalk

While the club’s official press release stated that Ralf Rangnick and Manchester United separated on mutual terms, United’s repetitive behaviour at booting out strong and demanding personalities whilst relaying their confidence on ‘Yes Men’ has inevitably added to the angst of an already infuriated fan-base.

A handful of fans have provided a comparably rational understanding of the situation, claiming Rangnick’s departure to be indeed on mutual terms after the German, reportedly, held a lengthy conversation with Ten Hag last week. Meanwhile, others remain adamant about him being forced out of the club after openly stating the issues within the dressing room whilst questioning the board’s decisions during his tenure as manager.

Despite being an expert in recruitment and restructuring, Ralf Rangnick departed Manchester United ahead of their most significant summer in recent seasons. The German’s surprise disassociation with the club has only added suspicion to a reported change of culture at Old Trafford, with many wary of the hierarchy’s tendency to deliver false promises in recent years.

The Pressure To Communicate

An apathy to communicate with the fanbase continues to be among the foremost issues yet to be addressed by United at the board level. However, following Rangnick’s appointment, the German’s objective assessment of inadequacies within the dressing room, recruitment, backroom staff, and board decisions, among other things, during several pre-match and post-match press conferences provided much-needed respite for a fan-base reeling from a toxic culture of false positivity dawned under the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tenure.

Moreover, Rangnick’s willingness to improve the club’s football structure combined with his views on recruitment resounded with a majority of the fan base, although, given the club’s recent history with strong personalities, the German was expected to be axed somewhere down the line over his now abandoned consultancy role with the club.

Although having failed to improve the team as a manager; leading the team to their worst-ever Premier League points tally, the willingness of Ralf Rangnick to be transparent about the issues plaguing Manchester United, alongside holding players and staff accountable for their inadequacies has only raised the benchmark of the channel of communication with the club and the fanbase.

While the club have recruited a demanding perfectionist in Erik Ten Hag, the lack of experience within the club’s football structure could potentially impede their project moving forward. Having previously relied on a competent football structure at Ajax, a questionable and precarious structure at United, lacking Rangnick’s expertise and networks across Europe, is likely to impact Ten Hag’s plans in the transfer market over the summer.

Backing Erik Ten Hag

While the club have, as ever, been linked with a multitude of players from across Europe, Rangnick’s absence is likely to impact their plans on negotiating contracts and persuading a rock-bottom Manchester United to lift this season. Having previously stressed the need to recruit players suited to a football mantra and on their first or second contract, the German’s departure is likely to see United continue with the culture of providing an extortionate amount of wages and uncalled-for contract renewals at the club.

While Ten Hag’s appointment and the John Murtough led rebuild are likely to address both issues, the interference of the influential boardroom figures at United, particularly those involved in having the final say on deals and wages, could potentially overpower the decisions of the manager and the football director, inevitably contributing to the continuation of the existent corporate-led mindset of running football operations at the club.

Erik ten Hag
Image obtained via Twelfth Man Times

Although United insist they remain committed to achieving success on the pitch – promising words given the revamp of the scouting and recruitment department – a failure to back the manager could see the club, yet again, fall victim to the boardroom’s ineptitude over the coming seasons.

Having reportedly drawn up a list of targets ahead of next season, Ten Hag will be keen on landing a majority of his targets this summer. With many expecting the Dutchman to remain adamant about his demands whilst being respectful of the scouting and recruitment department’s observations, many hope that United’s supposed rebuild begins finding its feet over the course of the summer.

Addressing Rangnick’s Observations

A lack of self-reflection remains among the major reasons for United’s failure to achieve success in the post-Ferguson era. Poor recruitment strategies, indecisiveness in the transfer market combined with an emphasis on player power, and corporate-minded management of players culminated in the club’s most torrid campaign last season.

Now, with the club’s only prominent figure in Rangnick, besides former manager Jose Mourinho having effectively been forced out of the club for their scathing opinions on its football operations, one could only hope that United learn from their observations and address the core issues rotting the dressing room and boardroom at Old Trafford.

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Rangnick overtly called out the club’s collective failure saying United are in need of a “… surgery of the open heart” during a pre-match press conference in April. The German delivered a damning assessment, agreeing that the club needs commanding leadership beyond the manager’s duties, saying: “In all areas you have to have top people and they have to work together in a very close, reliable way.”

With United undergoing a supposed restructuring of the footballing department to supplement Ten Hag’s vision over the coming season, it remains to be seen if the club considers the scathing observations of critical figures in their bid to improve the culture behind the scenes. However, with Rangnick’s surprising departure, United have yet again bred distrust amongst the fan base, despite optimism following the appointment of Ten Hag only a month ahead of a challenging transfer window for the club.

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