Ralf Rangnick could be forced to wait until mid-December to officially start his role as Manchester United‘s interim manager due to a delay in securing a work visa, sources have told ESPN.
The former Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig coach, who has resigned from his position as sporting director at Lokomotiv Moscow to move to United, arrived in England on Tuesday and must now isolate until receiving a negative result following COVID-19 PCR test.
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But United have confirmed that Rangnick will have no involvement before or during the club’s Premier League clash with Arsenal on Thursday, with caretaker manager Michael Carrick to select team and tactics for the game.
United announced last Friday that Rangnick will manage the team until the end of this season before assuming the role of senior football advisor at Old Trafford on a two-year contract following the recruitment of a permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was dismissed as manager on Nov. 21.
But due to his lack of coaching experience since relinquishing his role as RB Leipzig coach in 2019 — Rangnick became head of sport and development at Red Bull after stepping down as coach — the 63-year-old does not automatically qualify for a United Kingdom work permit to take charge at United.
As a consequence, the German must face a Football Association-appointed independent panel to secure the necessary visa to work in the Premier League, going through the English FA’s Exceptions Panel to gain the Governing Body Exemption required to be granted a work permit following the UK’s exit from the European Union earlier this year.
Although sources have told ESPN that it is a formality that Rangnick will be given his visa, the timing of the hearing is out of United’s control and could therefore delay his ability to work on the training ground and be involved on matchday.
Sources have said there is an outside chance of Rangnick being in charge for the visit of Crystal Palace on Sunday, but with United in Champions League duty against Young Boys on Dec. 8, the club and Rangnick could be forced to wait until the trip to Norwich on Dec. 11 before the red tape is cleared for him to sit in the dug-out.
If Rangnick’s COVID returns a negative result, he will be free to watch United’s game against Arsenal from the stands at Old Trafford, but his involvement will be strictly limited to that of a spectator.