Whisper it quietly, but it looks like Manchester United are on the cusp of doing a very good piece of business in bringing Ralf Rangnick to the club.

According to the Athletic, the German coach looks set to take up the role as interim boss until the end of the season, before moving into a consultancy role at the club for two years.

Whoever then takes the permanent reins at Old Trafford, whether it be Erik ten Haag, Mauricio Pochettino, or possibly somebody else, will no doubt benefit from having the German ‘godfather’ to call upon for advice.

But the 63-year-old is first tasked with making Manchester United an immediate force once again and helping recover a season, which threatened to become one of our worst, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Here we look at three key priorities that will no doubt be on Rangnick’s list when arriving at Carrington…


Resolve leaky defence

Villarreal v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The clean sheet at the El Madrigal was only our third clean sheet in 25 games, which is simply baffling and not good enough.

When World Cup winner Raphael Varane was signed in the summer, it seemed our defence had the final piece of the jigsaw.

Although the Frenchman has struggled with injuries, United’s defence has crumbled in his absence and the lack of leadership and communication is a big concern.

Atalanta v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Only Norwich and Newcastle (both 27) have conceded more goals than United (21) in the Premier League this season.

In contrast to the bottom two teams in the top-flight that United are currently being compared to, Chelsea and Manchester City, the top two sides in the Premier League have only conceded four and six goals respectfully.

That’s the stark contrast that Rangnick is tasked with addressing.

Press as a team

Villarreal v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Against Liverpool where the wheels really did start to come off for Solskjaer, United tried to press one of the best teams in Europe.

It was arguably one of the most disjointed and lacklustre attempts at pressing that we have witnessed. Jurgen Klopp’s side picked us off with ease.

Rangnick, who is famed for his high pressing, high energy style of play, will want to implement that philosophy within this United side, but he will have to coach and find the best players within the squad, who can carry out his commands.

The likes of Fred, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard may suit this style, but United’s other superstars might be in for a shock for how much running they will be expected to do.

Build around Cristiano Ronaldo

Villarreal CF v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

It seemed that Solskjaer was piecing together a team of his ideology when Varane and Jadon Sancho were added to the jigsaw in the summer.

When the noise surrounding the possibility of Ronaldo joining Manchester City intensified, the club moved quickly to bring the prodigal son back home.

The 36-year-old’s return gave the fans the belief that we would once again be back challenging for major honours.

No one would have envisaged three months after Ronaldo was resigned that Solskjaer would have been sacked and we would be eighth in the Premier League table, 12 points off the leaders.

Villarreal CF v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has pulled United through to the last-16 of the Champions League, but Rangnick is going to have to come up with a style and plan to get the best out of the legendary Portuguese.

Asking Ronaldo to implement a press from the front in the twilight of his career seems a non-starter.

So, it will be intriguing to see how Rangnick builds the side around our number seven, to ensure he continues to score goals, but the team can also press as a well-oiled unit.

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