Ralf Rangnick is set to be appointed as interim Manchester United manager until the end of this season. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It appears that Manchester United will be appointing Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of this season, and it will be a very smart move by the Old Trafford club.

The German looks set to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and will take over from caretaker manager Harry Carrick after this weekend’s match against Chelsea.

Rather than opt for a more familiar name such as Zinedine Zidane who had been linked with the vacant role or Mauricio Pochettino who is currently at Paris Saint-Germain, United have gone for the relatively unknown Rangnick but the 63-year-old has built an impressive coaching reputation during his time in Germany.

Known as the football professor, he has had successful spells at Stuttgart, Hannover, Hoffenheim, Schalke and RB Leipzig. Notably, he is credited for the Gegenpressing - where, immediately after losing the ball, the opposition attempts to win it back straight away rather than falling back to regroup – and also for inspiring the likes of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel.

Turn things around

Rangnick will join United who are languishing in eighth in the table and playing like a bunch of strangers. But, even though the club has been struggling to recapture the glory days ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, it still has a special ring to it. United is still a hard club to turn down. And with six months of the season still to go, there is ample time for Rangnick to turn things around.

He has more than two thirds of the campaign to stamp his authority on the team and many believe he has the personality and experience to do it. He also has a no-nonsense attitude which will go down well with the fans but just how some of the underperforming stars at the club respond will be interesting to see.

Tuchel turned the Blues around in no time at all and the feeling is that Rangnick - one of the greatest thinkers in football in the past 20 years - can do likewise. His trophy haul may be modest however his influence on the game is vast. He has built teams such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from the bottom up and his pressing game has been adopted by several high-profile managers across Europe.

Lack of effort

His style of play is very direct, there is a lot intensity and he demands his teams fight for every ball - it is just what United need right now. Currently the team looks lost, and there appears to be a distinct lack of effort too. The way they were humbled by Watford in the 4-1 defeat last weekend was an almighty low for the club. That sort of performance cannot be repeated and Rangnick will simply not allow it.

But the big question is how does Cristiano Ronaldo fit into his plans? The Portuguese superstar has never been known to press opposing defenders - not even when he was in his 20s - but will the 36-year-old have the legs to do what the manager demands? Will he be able to change his style of play at his age? Will he even make the team? Indeed the Ronaldo factor will be the most fascinating part of this story.