Manchester United’s soon-to-be interim manager Ralf Rangnick failed to sign Norwegian superstar Erling Haaland during a previous role as RB Leipzig sporting director
Rangnick is poised to become Manchester United’s interim manager after agreeing a deal to take over until the end of the season.
The 63-year-old is currently the head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, but is expected to leave that role in the coming days.
The former Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig is known as the father of gegenpressing and has influenced the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
Rangnick has been in management since 1983, but has also held roles away from the training pitch, like at RB Leipzig, where he was sporting director, as well as manager.
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The German has built a formidable reputation for astute work in the transfer market, picking up young, undervalued players and developing them into superstars.
Red Bull Salzburg, who are part of the same conglomerate as Leipzig, signed Haaland from Molde in January 2019.
The Norwegian star proceeded to score 29 times in just 27 games for the Austrian side, attracting widespread interest from rival clubs.
Salzburg have a well-trodden pathway to Leipzig, but Haaland bucked the trend by moving to Borussia Dortmund in January 2020 for a reported fee of just £19million (€22.5m).
The transfer was a huge coup for Dortmund – and represented a missed opportunity for RB Leipzig, who were then on then up under Julian Nagelsmann.
“From everything I know about him and his father, the main reason he moved there was that Dortmund could guarantee him a regular place,” Rangnick admitted to MDR in September 2020.
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“That wasn’t so difficult because they didn’t have a central striker apart from Paco Alcacer, who is half the size of Haaland and gets injured quickly and regularly.
“It was a great shame that he is the first player that RB Leipzig, since reaching the Bundesliga, have missed out on from Salzburg.
“What a shame it is for Leipzig, he would have suited us, our team and our style of play.
“Maybe with Alexander Sorloth, a Haaland Mk II will arrive at Leipzig.”
Rangnick’s hope has yet to play out, with Sorloth having contributed just six goals and three assists in 37 games for Leipzig.
He is currently out on loan with Real Sociedad, while Haaland has gone on to break goal scoring records with regularity at Dortmund.
The 21-year-old striker has already scored 70 goals and contributed 19 assists in just 69 games for Dortmund and is arguably the hottest prospect in world football.