Ralf Rangnick is one the verge of taking the biggest job of his career at Manchester United
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That result followed embarrassing home defeats by rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, with the team dropping to eighth in the Premier League table.
The club's hierarchy reluctantly made their decision after hoping Solskjaer could steady the ship until the end of the season.
"They have not prepared for it," said United legend Gary Neville after the sacking. "I don't think anybody would have done. It has deteriorated so badly and so quickly."
Considering the team's poor results – winning just one of their last seven Premier League games – United may have produced a rough shortlist before giving Solskjaer the boot.
Interviews, however, were hastily arranged and it's believed United spoke to Rangnick, Rudi Garcia, Lucien Favre and Ernesto Valverde about becoming their interim manager.
According to The Telegraph, Rangnick's interview was on Monday – giving him just a day to prepare for the biggest opportunity of his career.
His managerial CV includes RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim, Schalke and Stuttgart. None of those clubs – with all due respect – compare to the stature of United.
"It was very clear he put what little time he had to prepare to excellent use," a source said. "It was abundantly clear he wanted the job and he made damn sure he was going to get it."
Rangnick's proposal has done the trick – persuading the board to accept a two-and-a-half-year plan – yet he didn't need much time to put it together.
After winning just two of their first eight Premier League games in 2019-20, the acclaimed coach was asked about United's form by The Guardian in October 2019.
Rangnick influenced Jurgen Klopp's coaching methods
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"It's always difficult to follow someone like Sir Alex Ferguson, who was so successful and in place for a long time – and that’s even harder if you are often changing coaches," said Rangnick.
"With every coaching change, the identity changes and this is reflected in the sporting development. You can look at the money that team has had available in the last five years and say there has been an underperformance.
"At any club, if you cannot get the right players, then you should at least not sign the wrong ones. You are in trouble if you do that in one or two or three consecutive transfer windows.
"Club building is about building the right squad by transferring the right players away and having more than 50 per cent success rate of bringing in the right players."
Rangnick's comments reflect his United plan: he wants to influence the club's transfer policy during the next five windows to ensure the right talent comes through the door.
Ex-United midfielder Owen Hargreaves believes Rangnick can turn the club's fortunes around
The Red Devils have been heavily criticised in recent years for building an unbalanced squad, boasting endless attacking talents but lacking a holding midfielder.
Rangnick knows little meaningful work can be achieved in the space of six months. His consultancy role will give him time to change United's fortunes.
And Owen Hargreaves, who spent a decade at German side Bayern Munich, claimed Rangnick would be a great sporting director at Old Trafford in December 2020.
"I don’t think you could get a better one," said Hargreaves. "The recruitment, the detail, everything. He’s almost perfect for the job. He’s got experience, he’s been in big jobs.
"He was the architect behind that RB Leipzig project, getting to a Champions League semi-finals with players that wouldn’t get in any of the top teams.
"Going and getting Julian Nagelsmann to take them to the next level. His attention to detail is second to none. He’d be perfect for Manchester United.
“You think about Naby Keita, [Sadio] Mane, Joshua Kimmich, [Erling] Haaland, all those players that come through him.
"A sporting director should get players that we don’t really know – that makes it really interesting – to sign players like Kylian Mbappe, that’s easy.
"But finding those hidden gems, those next ones – like Haaland – that’s what they should be doing. Ralf Rangnick does that time and time again."