The 9 players Ralf Rangnick recommended to Manchester United
Manchester United hired Ralf Rangnick as the interim boss in December 2021 after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The German was originally brought in to assist with player recruitment and was expected to continue in a consultancy role even after the arrival of Erik Ten Hag as head coach for the 2022-23 season.
But despite being brought in as an interim for recruitment, Rangnick ended up being criticised for the club’s on-field performances and was eventually let go.
But what if United had let him do what he was actually hired to do? What if they had listened to his recruitment advice and hired the players he had recommended?
Well, let’s look at what happened to the 9 players Ralf Rangnick recommended to Manchester United.
1. Erling Haaland
Yes, Rangnick told Manchester United to sign Erling Haaland, but of course, that didn’t happen.
To be fair, we cannot really blame this one on United as even Ole wanted to sign him as they had previously worked together at Molde in Norway.
Haaland would not have gone to United anyway as he preferred a club that was in a better place and Manchester City pretty much suited his ambitions.
He eventually joined United’s noisy neighbours and now the Norwegian is tearing things apart everywhere he goes with them.
2. Julian Alvarez
One Man City player the Red Devils could have actually got was Julian Alvarez.
Rangnick recommended Alvarez to United even before City got onto the scene, but the board refused to sanction the move.
Alvarez — just like Haaland — is also tearing things apart at the blue half of Manchester. The Argentine has 16 goal contributions in 42 appearances since joining City while Antony, the player United went on to buy, has only managed 6 in 33 appearances.
And oh!, he’s also a World Cup winner.
3. Enzo Fernandez
Speaking of World Cup winners, Ralf Rangnick also told United to sign Enzo Fernandez.
The former Benfica playmaker ended up joining Chelsea in January 2023 for a British record deal at the time, although you could argue he has been a flop since moving to the English capital.
While it is clear the Argentine is super-talented, there was a time when United were reportedly leading the race for his signature. And at that moment he had just been named the Young Player of the tournament at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
United should have definitely signed him when Rangnick told them to do so. Instead, they ended up going for Sofyan Amrabat and Mason Mount in the summer.
4. Luis Diaz
Another South American player Rangnick recommended United to sign was Luis Diaz.
The Colombian winger is an insanely skillful player who has been super effective since joining Liverpool on 30 January 2022.
So far, the 26-year-old has had 16 goal contributions in 40 appearances while United’s Sancho has had 1 less with 18 more appearances.
The difference in class is just so clear.
5. Alvaro Morata
Another attacker Rangnick recommended was Alvaro Morata.
Although the Spaniard didn’t exactly have the best spell in the Premier League at Chelsea, he was arguably a better striking option than Anthony Martial and Wout Weghorst — who they eventually got on loan during the second half of last season.
This campaign, Morata has managed 10 goal contributions in 13 appearances for Athletico Madrid meanwhile all of United’s attackers put together have scored just one Premier League goal so far this season.
A highlight of how shambolic the recruitment has been at the Theatre of Dreams for a while now.
Also, See — Manchester United’s Decade of Transfer Failure
6. Dusan Vlahovic
Still on the attack, Dusan Vlahovic was also recommended by the current Austria National team boss. And even he, despite not having the best time at Juventus right now, has got 5 goal contributions in 9 Serie A appearances for the Old Lady.
This is nothing compared to the number of goals United’s attackers have managed to gather at this point in the season.
Hojlund, Sancho, Antony, Rashford, Martial, and Pellistri have all scored a collective number of 1 Premier League goal in 12 appearances.
Embarrassing to be honest.
7. Christopher Nkunku
Now one player United might not feel too bad about missing out on — at least for now — is Christopher Nkunku.
Chelsea beat them to the Frenchman’s signature but he’s still yet to play a single minute of official football for them although he’s edging closer to making his debut in a London-blue shirt.
Considering the state they’re in, United would’ve definitely not loved a situation of having a new signing who has been out for so long injured.
But if you look at the fact that Nkunku had 32 goal contributions in 36 appearances for RB Leipzig last season, United might come to regret not listening to Rangnick when he’s back to full fitness.
Nkunku is also a versatile forward, something you cannot say for most of United’s attackers.
8. Konrad Laimer
Rangnick also told United to sign Konrad Laimer, a midfielder he worked with during his time at Leipzig.
The United board refused to sign him, so Bayern Munich went ahead and snatched the 26-year-old who’s proving to be a really solid midfielder.
Instead of signing another attacking midfielder in Mount last summer when they already had one in Bruno Fernandes, United could’ve easily signed the young central midfielder when Rangnick recommended him.
9. Josko Gvardiol
Finally, Rangnick recommended Josko Gvardiol for United, but again the board refused to go for him. And just like Haaland and Alvarez, Guardiola went in there and snatched him.
Now Gvardiol is proving to be a really solid and versatile centre-back for Manchester City.
To be fair, United do not have a bad defence either so they may not regret this as much as they do with the attackers.
At centre-back, they have World Cup winners in Rafael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. They also have Lindelof and Harry Maguire who seem to be returning back to top form.
Nonetheless, Gvardiol’s age just makes it feel like he would have been a really good signing for United, especially for the future.
Which of these recommendations do you think United should have really signed?