Manchester United are improving under Ralf Rangnick but he now needs the support of the board to achieve vital top four finish

Manchester United are improving under Ralf Rangnick but he now needs the support of the board to achieve vital top four finish

Last update: 26 January 2022 Tags: Manchester United, Champions League, Premier League, Ralf Rangnick. Categories: Premier League, Champions League.

Featured image courtesy of Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Ralf Rangnick has steadied the ship at Old Trafford, Manchester United are no longer leaking goals and greater control over games is slowly starting to become evident. However, it will all be in vain if the Red Devils fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Everything that Rangnick is attempting to achieve would be far more likely if United's board take advantage of one of the cheap, available, and talented holding midfielders currently on the market. It is a low-risk, potentially high reward scenario. You sign a specialist in a position (United currently have just Nemanja Matić) and you do so without breaking the bank. You trust Ralf Rangnick who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Europe and its hottest prospects.

To me it's a simple decision, offload Jesse Lingard and Donny Van De Beek, and then bring in one midfielder out of Boubacar Kamara, Amadou Haidara, or Denis Zakaria. Rangnick has made it known in press conferences that he needs a midfielder in January and it is privately rumored he feels frustrated by the situation and I wouldn't blame him.

Both Kamara and Zakaria are out of contract in the summer, so there is a chance to buy either player for as little as £6m. That is a bargain for two players who are attracting interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs. It also allows Matić, who is in the twilight of his career, to leave in the summer and for the club to prioritise defensive midfield in the summer. Signing a midfielder now in a position United are so light in, should not prevent the Glazers from making a marquee summer signing like Declan Rice or Rúben Neves. If that proves to be their excuse, then they deserve everything that comes to them but Rangnick, the players and the fan base don't.

There has been positive change under the German, from making brave selection choices, dropping key players from the Solskjær era and adapting the style of football. It has taken some time to see real change in the quality of football which had been dire and unimaginative for too long under Solskjær.

Although the second half against Brentford and the West Ham game were signs of positive change, United have been more fluid, have greater control, and have displayed greater defensive organisation. We've even seen goals scored like the second and third goals against Brentford and the dramatic winning goal against West Ham that you could call 'Rangnick' goals. He likes high press but he also likes scoring within ten seconds of picking the ball up and all three of those goals came from quick transitions, leading to scoring in rapid time.

Embed from Getty Images

Rangnick's decision to drop players who often looked untouchable under Ole's reign is encouraging too. Finally, his eye for talent has come through in his inclusion of Anthony Elanaga who wasn't in Solskjær's  immediate plans. Elanga has been a real bright spark in recent weeks with his clever movement and ability to take on defenders with a fearless attitude.

Evidently then, progress is being made. Rangnick talks a good game through his media transparency and his team is beginning to play a good game. However, asking Fred and McTominay to continue playing in a position that doesn't suit either of them, could come back to haunt United's board. The Glazers want top four because of the money and bonuses involved with Champions League football and they will be playing with fire if they do nothing between now and January's deadline. Their finger-crossing attitude could backfire and lead to a summer planning for Europa League football and life without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The right choice must be made before it's too late and United's hopes are firmly with the footballing gods.