Manchester United are in advanced talks with Ralf Rangnick over becoming their interim manager until the end of the season.
Rangnick, the highly respected former director of football at RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig, is head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow but negotiations over a move to Old Trafford have progressed swiftly since Monday.
The 63-year-old made clear to United that he would accept their offer of a six-month contract as interim manager only if it came with a guaranteed consultancy role until May 2024 or 2025. United are understood to have agreed to that condition, which would give Rangnick a significant say in major football decisions.
Negotiations with Lokomotiv are continuing. Rangnick signed a three-year deal in July and wants an amicable departure. United are confident Lokomotiv will agree to release the former Stuttgart, Schalke and Hoffenheim head coach.
United officials held talks with Rangnick on Monday and have had discussions with other candidates including the former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde. The club said when sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjær last Sunday that they would look for a temporary manager before making a longer-term appointment in the summer.
Rangnick has not worked as a manager since holding the fort at Leipzig in the 2018-19 season while the club waited for Julian Nagelsmann. He had previously been director of football at RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig, where he overhauled their youth systems and recruitment strategies as the clubs developed into regular European competitors. He has also been credited as a major influence on the philosophies of fellow German coaches including Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Nagelsmann.
Last season Rangnick held talks with Chelsea over an interim role and told the Times the following month: “I said: ‘I would like to come and work with you, but I can’t do it for four months. I’m not an interim coach. To the media and players you would be the ‘four-month manager’, a lame duck, from day one. It would have to be something special.”
Mauricio Pochettino remains interested in taking the United job in the summer and would not be put off by Rangnick’s presence in a consultancy role. Paris Saint-Germain were not willing to consider losing their manager mid-season but a deal could be possible at the end of the campaign.
Pochettino has misgivings about aspects of the PSG project, notably the coherence of a recruitment strategy that he believes centres more on signing glamour names than on constructing a squad to fit his vision. He knew the sky-high expectations he would face but that has not made them any easier to bear.
United face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when Michael Carrick will again be in charge because, in the event of Lokomotiv sanctioning Rangnick’s exit, work permit issues would delay his arrival.