Ralf Rangnick’s work permit has been approved, allowing him to start working as Manchester United’s interim manager. Rangnick was announced as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s replacement on Monday, signing a season-long contract before moving to Old Trafford for a two-year advisory job.
Due to issues obtaining a work visa, he was unable to practice this week, and while he will be present for United’s Premier League match against Arsenal on Thursday night, interim manager Michael Carrick will be in charge.
Securing the Work Permit
Rangnick will have his first press conference as United manager on Friday, ahead of Sunday’s home encounter against Crystal Palace, which will be his first in command. To get a work permit this week, the 63-year-old had to persuade an FA panel of his management skills.
He arrived in the UK on Monday night, hours before harsher Covid restrictions took effect, and is thought to be staying in a Manchester hotel. He reportedly failed to meet the FA’s Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) criteria because he did not manage a top-flight club in Europe for long enough in the previous five years – either two years consecutively or three years altogether.
Rangnick led RB Leipzig twice during the 2015-16 and 2018-19 seasons while also serving as the club’s director of football, but that was not enough to earn him a GBE, as Antonio Conte did when he took over at Tottenham a month ago due to his recent stints at Inter Milan and Chelsea.
Arguing with Rangnick
Rangnick had held other top positions at RB Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow, according to United insiders, although he had not worked enough as a manager during this time.
Before the Home Office could give him a work visa, his GBE had to be authorized by a three-man exceptions panel appointed by the FA and chaired by a legal specialist and two other persons with a football background.
Rangnick was photographed taking a tour of Old Trafford after his Covid quarantine was lifted earlier this week. On Wednesday, United supporter Oliver Hunt, who was also on a tour of the stadium, observed the German.
Rangnick appeared to be getting a tour from United’s football director John Murtough, with the coach stopping to chat with former defender Wes Brown as he made his way around the pitch.
Carrick, who took over as caretaker manager when Solskjaer was fired last month, revealed he hasn’t spoken to Rangnick yet in a press conference ahead of the Arsenal game. Rangnick had no say in Carrick’s team selection or tactics in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea, and it’s understood that the new manager was not allowed to do so without a work visa.
With Arsenal, one point behind fourth-placed West Ham and a game in hand, the match against the Gunners at Old Trafford is already crucial in the race for Champions League football. United trail Arsenal by five points and must turn their season around swiftly if they are to finish in the top four.
After His Arrival
Carrick and the rest of Solskjaer’s backroom staff — assistant Mike Phelan, coach Kiernan McKenna, and goalie coach Richard Hartis — will remain at the club after Rangnick’s arrival was confirmed on Monday.
Rangnick will be able to bring in a limited number of coaching personnel, but his trusty video analyst Lars Kornetka will remain at Lokomotiv Moscow to take over as head of sports and development.
United thanked the Russian club for their cooperation when it was revealed that they would not be required to pay compensation to release Rangnick from the final two-and-a-half years of his contract.
The former Schalke, Hoffenheim, and Leipzig coach has been offered a two-year advisory post at United beyond the end of the current season, with the possibility of a permanent manager’s job if performances go well.