Man Utd had ‘five-man shortlist’ for manager before settling on Ralf Rangnick

Rangnick is on the verge of taking charge of United on an interim basis
(Image: Bongarts/Getty Images)

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Former Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde emerged as another of the leading candidates after the Red Devils opened talks with the Spaniard earlier this week.

Valverde enjoyed huge success at Athletic Bilbao, guiding them to the Champions League in 2014 – for the first time in three decades – and winning the Spanish Supercopa the following year; success which led to his appointment at Barcelona in 2017.

The experienced Valverde won the title in La Liga in each of his two full seasons in charge alongside a Copa del Rey title and Spanish Supercopa during his time at the Catalan giants, winning 97 of his 145 matches at the helm.

Valverde’s coaching career has also included stints at Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia alongside two spells in charge of Olympiacos – with whom he won five trophies including three league titles in Greece.

Another candidate who made United’s five-man shortlist was Rudi Garcia, who was most well-known for leading Lille to the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double in 2011.

He also enjoyed lengthy stints at the helm of Roma, Marseille (whom he led to the 2018 Europa League final) and Lyon, where he reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2020 – having memorably eliminated Manchester City in the previous round.

Former Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre was also under serious consideration at United, having left the Bundesliga giants in December last year.

Favre was admired for his coaching work in his native Switzerland before lengthy stints at Hertha BSC, Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice – before his spell at Dortmund.

Of the four interim options, Valverde had appeared to be the frontrunner due to Pochettino’s lack of availability but the ex-Barca boss was soon ruled out.

And it now appears that United have instead been convinced on Rangnick – who will act in a ‘consultancy’ role for two years after the completion of this campaign.

On Tuesday, Michael Carrick oversaw an impressive two-goal victory for Manchester United at Villarreal to seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Carrick is now set to once again be at the helm for United’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday due to Rangnick’s work permit being unlikely to be processed in time for the trip.

It remains unclear if Carrick and United’s other coaching staff – including Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna – will be retained under Rangnick’s likely regime at the club.