Although Manchester United’s decision to employ Ralf Rangnick as interim manager last season was perplexing, bringing Gerrman to the club as a football director, a post currently held by John Murtough, would have been a wise move.
Rangnick had a varied managing career before taking over for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but he’d only led RB Leipzig for two seasons in the previous decade, so he’d become more renowned for his boardroom experience.
The 64-year-old had remarkable success as football director for both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg, where he was in charge of signing cheap agreements for players like Joshua Kimmich, Ibrahima Konate, Naby Keita, Timo Werner, and Marcel Sabitzer, to mention a few.
His ability to spot talent in the transfer market cannot be disputed, and he praised Sabitzer, who joined United on loan from Bayern Munich late on transfer deadline day, in an interview with Kicker in March 2020.
“His [Sabitzer’s] progress couldn’t have been any better,” Rangnick stated. He has never enjoyed losing, which I believe is a good thing. But he could get a little too worked up. He has obviously changed for the better and has emerged as a leader.
“It’s amazing how he’s grown his individuality. I’ve only had a few such experiences.”
Sabitzer was not anticipated to join United in January, but with Christian Eriksen’s ankle injury expected to keep him out until April, the club was compelled to move to compensate for his absence.
Eriksen joined United on a free transfer last summer and rapidly became untouchable, so his presence will be missed, but Sabitzer’s arrival is possibly the best ‘panic buy’ of the entire January transfer window.
During his seven years with RB Leipzig, where he made over 200 games, Sabitzer established himself as one of Europe’s best midfielders, and he’s a wise purchase for United.
The 28-year-old may have slid down Bayern Munich’s midfield pecking order, but he is still a fantastic player, and his numbers when compared to Eriksen’s demonstrate why Ten Hag will be overjoyed with his arrival in Manchester.
To begin, while Sabitzer hasn’t averaged as many assists per 90 minutes as Eriksen this season, he’s superior in other critical categories, such as dribbling and attacking movements, implying he’s more at ease on the ball than his new teammate.
This season, Sabitzer has averaged 0.27 successful drives per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga, which is more than double what Eriksen has averaged every game in the Premier League, and he has also taken much more shots than the Dane.
Although Eriksen and Sabitzer have similar offensive stats, the latter is a significant upgrade in defensive areas, as he is superior in all of them, indicating that he will thrive alongside the world-class Casemiro.
Sabitzer remains collected under pressure, is rarely dispossessed in crucial areas during Bundesliga games, and appears to be the ideal Eriksen’replacement’ for the rest of the season, or until he recovers from his ankle injury.
Eriksen has been great since joining United, but with Sabitzer at the club, he may struggle to break into the starting lineup.