Manchester United were left short of attacking options due to the board’s refusal to sign a forward late in January, according to Ralf Rangnick.
Rangnick took interim charge in November after the dismissal of club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and arrived as a highly acclaimed operator in the transfer market after his technical role at RB Leipzig.
United fans may have been hopeful the German would be allowed to deliver some transfer gems, having previously signed the likes of Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for small fees while at RB Salzburg.
However, United were instead left with a shortage of strikers after the unsettled Anthony Martial was loaned to Sevilla and Mason Greenwood was suspended indefinitely by the club with three days left in January.
Rangnick eyed moves for Dusan Vlahovic, who subsequently left Fiorentina for Juventus, Manchester City-bound Julian Alvarez, and Luis Diaz, who joined Liverpool from Porto, but none came to fruition.
That left United to rely on the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored nine of their last 13 league goals across 10 matches, with Edinson Cavani hampered by fitness and injury issues.
“The answer at the time was no there was no player on the market that could really help us – there were a few, Diaz who is now at Liverpool, Alvarez who will be at Manchester City in the summer, Vlahovic who at the time still was with Fiorentina those are just three of them that come across my mind now,” said Rangnick.
“We had four days off at the time and on the Sunday I was informed about the issues with Mason Greenwood and obviously Anthony Martial had already left.
“Then I was aware that within four days we had some strikers missing and it might make sense, we were still in three competitions – Champions League, FA Cup and fourth in the league but that’s the past and it doesn’t help us anymore.
“I spoke to the board and said shouldn’t we at least speak and try and analyse if we could get a player either on loan or as a permanent deal but in the end the answer was no.
“I still believe that we should have at least tried, if we would’ve found and been able in 48 hours, 48 hours is short notice but it’s still 48 hours, it might have been worth to try and internally discuss but we didn’t and it was not done.”
Finishing the season strongly
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Rangnick will move into a consultancy role at the end of the season, alongside his coaching commitments with Austria, and partner the incoming Erik ten Hag in an attempt to transform United’s fortunes.
Ten Hag has already demanded some ruling over transfers, while Rangnick claimed United may need up to 10 players to compete.
Rangnick is under no illusions about how sizeable the rebuilding task will be at Old Trafford.
“If there is a good thing about the poor season we had so far it is that everybody now should be aware how big and where the problems are and what needs to be done to raise the level again and to be a serious title contender again – and this is what it’s all about – to me it’s obvious what needs to be done, this is what is most important,” said Rangnick.
“If there hadn’t been any problems before I came I wouldn’t have come, probably Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would still be sat here answering your questions.
“There were some problems the team already had at the end of November and as we all know in the first couple of months until the end of January we were improving, we conceded less goals, we had a point average of 2.1 after the West Ham game but then in that international break we lost three players and we had problems to score goals and find our balance.”
“Now it’s time to look ahead, now we have two games to play try to play as well as we possibly can, get as many points as we possibly can out of those two games.
“Then together with Erik, together with the board, together with the scouting department, hopefully find and also convince the players, it’s not only about finding them, scouting them you also have to convince them to come to Manchester United.”
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