Ralf Rangnick claims Manchester United’s board of directors rejected his advice to purchase a striker in January, potentially costing them Champions League football next season.
The interim manager stated that he advised the club to seek reinforcements in the last days of the January transfer window, with Mason Greenwood suspended indefinitely on January 30 following rape allegations, Edinson Cavani injured, and Anthony Martial on loan at Sevilla.
“I was notified about the issue surrounding Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial had already left, and then I became aware that within four days we had some strikers missing and that it might make sense (to buy),” Rangnick explained.
“We were still in three competitions – the FA Cup, the Champions League, and we were fourth in the league at the time…
“I spoke to the board and said to them, ‘Shouldn’t we at least talk and analyze to see if we can obtain a player, on loan or on a permanent deal?'”
“Ultimately, the answer was no. The response was no; perhaps they didn’t want to do anything during the winter (business). It makes no difference; the answer was no.”
Rangnick stated that United’s scouting staff felt there were no appropriate players available on the market. United confirmed the departures of top scout Jim Lawlor and global head of scouting Marcel Bout last month.
Rangnick alluded to moves in the last days of the window that brought Luis Diaz from Porto to Liverpool, Julian Alvarez from River Plate to Manchester City, and Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina to Juventus.
Those agreements were negotiated prior to Greenwood’s ban, but with Martial already having left and Cavani away on international duty – since when he has made only four United appearances with one start.
Rangnick responded, “I don’t know if these would have been realistic targets.” But, as I previously stated, perhaps we should have had an internal discussion about it. It could be vital and important…
“I still believe we should have tried.” If we had discovered and signed a player within 48 hours, it would have been on short notice, but 48 hours is 48 hours. It could have been worthwhile to try to have an internal discussion about it. We didn’t. It was not done.”
United was fourth after Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time goal and gained a 1-0 win over West Ham on January 22 but head into their penultimate meeting at Brighton on Saturday with top-four chances virtually over, sixth in the table and five points behind an Arsenal side who have two games in hand.
Erik ten Hag, the manager of Ajax, will take over at Old Trafford this summer, with Rangnick, who has agreed to become Austria’s coach, remaining as a consultant.
The German, who took over in late November after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired, insisted United improved early in his tenure but said the departure of Greenwood – who is still on bail on allegations of raping and assaulting a young woman – as well as Martial’s departure and Cavani’s injury woes, changed the dynamic.
“Obviously, the club had had some challenges at the end of November, and the first couple of months, at least until the end of January, we were improving,” Rangnick remarked, adding that his team had conceded fewer goals and boosted their points-per-game ratio.
“Then, during the international break, we lost three long-term players, including Edinson Cavani.” Three strikers were gone to us. Then we struggled to score goals and maintain our equilibrium. This is what occurred.”
Since that triumph over West Ham, when Cavani set up Rashford’s late winner, neither Rash
Greenwood had six goals before his suspension, which is more than Rashford (five) or Cavani (two) had this season. Rashford is expected to miss Saturday’s game due to illness.