Arsenal playmaker Emile Smith Rowe and current Manchester United target Amadou Haidara were among the players Ralf Rangnick signed during his two terms as RB Leipzig boss.
The January transfer window is shaping up to be a period of transformation at Manchester United as Ralf Rangnick marks his authority over the squad.
Wantaway striker Anthony Martial is closing in on an exit while fringe players such as Benfica-linked Phil Jones could also be offloaded.
More exciting for fans is the prospect of newcomers who can bolster United’s bid for a Premier League top-four and a Champions League or FA Cup run.
Luckily for the Red Devils, they have one of the best in the business in their dugout when it comes to selecting talent.
Rangnick rose to fame during his tenure as RB Leipzig sporting director, when he spent two separate seasons as the club manager: the 2015/16 and 2018/19 campaigns.
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The German, 63, returned by dugout in November to become United’s interim manager, and he is also expected to have a say in transfers as he takes on a two-year consulting role at Old Trafford next summer. .
As he finalizes his plans for the January window, Football Mirror take a look at what we can learn from the last five signings Rangnick made as a manager.
1. Emile Smith Rowe
@ RBLeipzig_FR / Twitter)
Signed by: Arsenal
Costs: Loan fee of £ 900,000
Ironically enough, Rangnick’s final signing for Leipzig brought Smith Rowe – now one of the first names on Arsenal’s roster – to Red Bull Arena on loan for the second half of the 2018/19 season.
At the time, the young playmaker had only a handful of senior appearances under his belt and he arrived in Leipzig in search of valuable first-team experience in the Bundesliga.
However, a hamstring injury limited Smith Rowe’s involvement to just 28 minutes of action in three substitute appearances.
The method behind the transfer was perhaps more important than the outcome of the transfer, with Rangnick keen to add a playmaker who can thrive in his 4-2-2-2 system.
“We’ve been watching the boy for several months,” Rangnick said of Smith Rowe at the time. “He adds a lot to our game, I think we match his qualities as well, and he’s capable of playing in a number of offensive positions.”
The German’s quotes prove he values versatility, as he doesn’t hesitate to cut and change personnel in the quartet of attackers.
2. Amadou Haidara
Signed by: Red Bull Salzburg
Costs: £ 17million
While Smith Rowe’s loan did not produce the desired effect, Haidara’s arrival earlier in the Winter Window that season proved to be a masterstroke for Rangnick.
The Malian arrived from sister club Salzburg and went on to establish himself as one of the best up-and-coming midfielders in the Bundesliga.
Haidara, 23, embodies what Rangnick expects from one of the two No.6’s tasked with protecting the defense, as that position has proven to be awkward for United throughout the current season.
The United interim manager is still not convinced by Scott McTominay and Fred as a couple and it is no surprise that Haidara is heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in January.
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3. Tyler Adams
Signed by: New York Red Bulls
Costs: £ 2.4 million
Haidara’s regular midfielder partner was bought out during the same transfer window and also arrived from a sister club, this time the MLS New York team Red Bulls.
Adams, 22, forged a young and promising couple with his teammate and his performances have reportedly caught the attention of Arsenal.
Like Haidara, USA international Adams is highly regarded by Rangnick, who even compared him to Bayern Munich and Germany star Joshua Kimmich earlier this year.
Rangnick only made three signings in his second stint in the Leipzig hot seat and all of them focused on improving the midfield, reaffirming how important this area of the pitch is to his philosophy of intense and pressing football. .
4. Marcel Halstenberg
Martin Rose / Getty Images)
Signed by: St. Pauli
Costs: £ 3million
The final signing of Rangnick’s first spell as Leipzig manager Halstenberg is another success in Red Bull’s recruiting strategy.
On paper, there wasn’t much to get excited about as the defender arrived from then-rival Leipzig in the Bundesliga second division St. Pauli for a small transfer fee.
However, the club’s extensive screening uncovered a gem and Halstenberg made 185 appearances over his six and a half years on their books.
Borussia Dortmund would have loved the 30-year-old this summer, but he suffered an injury while representing Germany at Euro 2020 and has yet to make an appearance this season.
By signing Halstenberg, Rangnick once again showed his ability to identify a discounted option to strengthen the first team. At United, however, he has the budget to pursue much more established names across Europe without fear of bigger clubs poaching them later.
5. Atinc Nukan
Karina Hessland / Bongarts / Getty Images)
Signed by: Besiktas
Costs: £ 5.4million
The penultimate signing of Ralf Rangnick’s first stint as Leipzig manager has proven that not all bets pay off.
The German club looked to the Turkish Super Lig to bolster their defense and decided to remove Nukan from Besiktas midway through the 2015 summer window.
However, Nukan never came to life with Leipzig and made just nine starts in all competitions before returning to Besiktas on loan twice and eventually joining Goztepe when his contract expired.
It was a brief and disappointing transfer episode, but Rangnick was rarely wrong in the market and it won’t do much to deter the leaders of Old Trafford from strongly supporting him.