Sports Strength

Everything Happening With Newcastle

Newcastle are entering a new phase in their club’s history and over the next four months we’ll get a strong gauge about where the Magpies are heading over the next few years.

This season hasn’t gone according to plan for Newcastle and they currently find themselves in the relegation zone with more than half the campaign already behind them.

That’s where new owners Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a Saudi-backed organization – become so valuable to the Magpies this month.

PIF completed its takeover in 2021 after buying out Mike Ashley at Newcastle, and the purchase was met with significant jubilation from Magpies supporters and vast displeasure from other sides across the Premier League.

The majority of the unrest comes from the fact that many are worried about another club being owned by a country could bring in outside factors that hinder the football agenda.

Paris Saint-Germain, which has a Qatari-backed ownership group has been long met by the same criticism over the years, particularly their dealing with TV rights holders beIN Sport – which they own – as well as Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Back in October, we wrote about what Newcastle fans could potentially expect from their new ownership.

With the Magpies in the midst of the January transfer window now, it feels like a more appropriate time to examine the situation as Newcastle aims to stave off relegation.

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Reports are all over the place when it comes to the club targeting players this season, with Lille defender Sven Botman, Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and other high-profile talents all linked to the English side.

Newcastle has secured deals with striker Chris Wood and England right back Kieran Trippier, which will surely bolster the Magpies squad a bit, but the club appears to be far from finished if they have any say in the matter.

Despite being only two points from safety, Newcastle need significant reinforcements if they are to fend off a drop to the Championship next season.

The club has.just one Premier League win all season and they’ve allowed the second-most goals in England’s top flight (43).

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Newcastle can certainly benefit by building around star attacker Allan Saint-Maximin, who had contributed five goals and three assists this season, but the French star cannot do it all by himself.

This season, striker Callum Wilson and Saint-Maximin has played a role in roughly 70 percent of Newcastle’s goal involvements, leaving little margin of error when either aren’t on the pitch.

It’s unclear if the Magpies will be able to get the necessary deals over the line before the end of the January transfer window, but given the nature of the club’s history and the attention drawn by their new ownership anything except a stay in the top flight would be considered a massive misstep.

Sports Strength

Meet Anthony Elanga, United’s Rising Baller

Anthony Elanga is quickly becoming one of Manchester United’s latest rising ballers and it’s easy to see why those around the club are so excited about the youngster.

At 19 years old, he’s seeing more and more regular time for the Premier League side and given the club’s immense youth talent it’s an exciting time to be watching the Red Devils.

Elanga was born in Sweden and briefly played at Malmo’s academy to begin his career, the same club where Zlatan Ibrahmovic made a name for himself early on as a player.

Elanga moved to United’s famed Carrington academy in 2014 and has quickly risen through their system as a teenager.

United’s Carrington academy is known for producing many top talents like Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, and Elanga is starting to enter that mix as well.

Despite Elanga’s father Joseph representing Cameroon at the international level, the Man United attacker plays for Sweden and currently represents their Under-21 side.

With the competition at United in the club’s attack, it was difficult for Elanga to get a fair shake early in the season with Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rashford all present.

However, after new manager Ralf Rangnick took over in December, Elanga has received much more attention.

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He’s earned seven appearances across all competitions since the German took charge last month, and Elanga bagged his first senior-team goal of the season on Wednesday against Brentford.

Elanga played all 90 minutes for the first time in the Premier League and it could be a vital raise in confidence moving forward if Rangnick continues to reward him with regular appearances.

Sports Strength

What is the FIFA Club World Cup?

The FIFA Club World Cup will kick off next month in Abu Dhabi, but what exactly is the competition and how long has it been around?

FIFA created the Club World Cup back in 2000 to celebrate regional club winners from across the globe.

Traditional there are seven clubs ranging from all six major confederations around the world, including CONCACAF (North/Central America & Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), UEFA (Europe), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia) and OFC (Oceania).

The first-ever Club World Cup took place in Brazil, where Brazilian champions Corinthians took home the trophy that year.

Over the first two decades of the tournament, winners have only come from Europe and South America, with the four other regions seeking their first trophy.

Etsuo Hara / Contributor

Real Madrid hold the record for most titles in the competition with four, including a run of three consecutive trophies from 2016 through 2018.

In fact, Madrid has never lost a Club World Cup match, boasting 10 wins and two draws in their four previous competitions.

The competition is single-elimination with three teams receiving first-round byes and two more teams receiving byes for the first two rounds of play.

This year, Chelsea and Palmeiras will be automatically through to the semifinals. Meanwhile, Al Jazira and AS Pirae will meet in the lone first round matchup to decide who will take on Al Hilal in the second round.

Who’s Competing This Year?

Chelsea (England) – UEFA Champions League

Palmeiras (Brazil) – Copa Libertadores

Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) – AFC Champions League

Al Ahly (Egypt) – CAF Champions League

Monterrey (Mexico) – CONCACAF Champions League

AS Pirae (Tahiti) – OFC nomination

Al Jazira (UAE) – 2020/21 UAE Pro League winner

Previous Winners

2000 – Corinthians (Brazil)

2001-2004 – Tournament cancelled

2005 – Sao Paolo (Brazil)

2006 – Internacional (Brazil)

2007 – AC Milan (Italy)

2008 – Man United (England)

2009 – Barcelona (Spain)

2010 – Inter Milan (Italy)

2011 – Barcelona (Spain)

2012 – Corinthians (Brazil)

2013 – Bayern Munich (Germany)

2014 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2015 – Barcelona (Spain)

2016 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2017 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2018 – Real Madrid (Spain)

2019 – Liverpool (England)

2020 – Bayern Munich (Germany)

2021 – TBD

Sports Strength

James Ward-Prowse and His Magical Free Kicks

Players like David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho have been known throughout their illustrious careers for being some of football’s greatest free-kick takers in the history of the sport.

James Ward-Prowse may not have the recognition of the aforementioned trio, but he’s putting himself into that incredible company with his magical free-kick production at Southampton.

The Englishman has been a Saints lifer to this point in his career, arriving at the club 18 years ago when he was invited to their youth academy.

Southampton have been known over the years for producing some of the Premier League’s top talent and making out quite well in the transfer market by selling those players.

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Danny Ings, Sadio Mane, Luke Shaw and Virgil Van Dijk are just a few of the Saints products that have done the club well over the years and helped keep the club functioning at a high level with their sales.

Ward-Prowse, however, has had a very different trajectory for his career despite constantly being floated as a transfer target for other top English sides.

Not only is Ward-Prowse Southampton’s captain but he’s also the club’s most-expensive signing in club history.

Ward-Prowse also happens to be Southampton’s greatest free-kick taker and he’s emerging into elite territory in all of the Premier League.

At the age of 27, Ward-Prowse now has 12 free kick goals to his name while playing at Southampton.

Ward-Prowse only trails Beckham for most direct free kick goals in Premier League history, with the former Manchester United legend boasting 18 during his career.

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Since 2003 when Opta starting tracking free-kick data, Ward-Prowse has the highest free-kick conversion percentage of any player in the top English flight.

Ward-Prowse is a unique specimen though outside of his free-kick endeavors.

Last season, he became recognized as the only Southampton player to play two consecutive Premier League seasons without coming off at any point.

With his consistent play across the midfield, it’s difficult to imagine Ward-Prowse not getting an opportunity at an elite club in the near future. But until then, we can all enjoy his breathtaking free kicks whenever he puts on a Southampton shirt.

Sports Strength

Meet Jacob Ramsey, Aston Villa’s Homegrown Star

When Jack Grealish moved on from Aston Villa in 2021 there was great sadness around Villa Park as the club’s biggest star embarked on a new journey at Manchester City. 

We’re now halfway through the Premier League campaign and although may not be a top four side they have another Villa homegrown star that’s ready to fill the shoes left by Grealish.

Meet Jacob Ramsey, the 20-year-old midfielder born in Birmingham.

He may not play the same role as his predecessor, but Ramsey’s importance is quickly growing under new manager Steven Gerrard and it was on full display over the weekend in his side’s comeback 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

Now in his fourth season with the Villa first team, expectations for the Englishman are rising and that could mean significant opportunities in the future both at the club and international levels.

History of Ramsey

Ramsey is a Villa homegrown in every sense of the term. He grew up in Birmingham, not far from Villa Park as he aspired to one day play for the Villans. 

His brothers, Aaron and Cole, are both involved in the Villa system and could potentially join him with the first team someday.

Meanwhile, their father, Mark, was a light-welterweight boxer that fought former champion Ricky Hatton twice in his career.

At six years old, Ramsey joined the club’s youth academy and from there it became an upward trajectory of when, not if, he would make it all the way up to Villa’s first team.

Ramsey signed his first professional contract with the club in January 2019, during the same season in which Aston Villa climbed back into the Premier League for the first time in three seasons.

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It wasn’t until the following year that Ramsey was really granted an opportunity to show off his skills though. The club loaned Ramsey out to League One side Doncaster Rovers in January 2020, but the Englishman would only play seven matches for the Reds after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down football and the world in March.

Doncaster’s season ended because of the coronavirus and that meant Ramsey would head back to Villa and eventually get his first chance to play for the club in September of that same year.

Since that moment, Ramsey’s chances with the first team have only increased and that’s an incredibly exciting notion for a club looking for its next superstar.

Style of Play

Ramsey’s on-field play style is very much that of a prototypical box-to-box midfielder. While Ramsey did shine recently with a goal and an assist against Man United, he isn’t afraid of tracking back to handle the dirty work on the defensive end of the pitch.

With the addition of Philippe Coutinho at Villa it’s a very exciting opportunity for Ramsey to pair with another creative central midfielder.

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It’s very likely that Ramsey can learn from Coutinho’s attacking tendencies while also polishing his defensive performances as well, making him into another Jude Bellingham-esque youngster in the England player pool.

What the Future Holds

Ramsey has become a top prospect in the England youth pool, most recently representing their Under-21 side in 2021. There’s been strong rumblings that Gareth Southgate could turn to more young midfielders such as Ramsey in the near future, especially given the increased youth within the Three Lions squad.

England continues to give opportunities to other youngsters like Reece James, Declan Rice, Phil Foden and Bellingham, and with more consistent play at Villa it’s easy to anticipate Ramsey getting a call up of his own shortly.

With Villa’s increased spending over recent seasons, they’ll expect their squad to improve rapidly. Ramsey could very well become the next Grealish as his builds out his portfolio at the club over the next five-plus seasons and hopefully parlay that into a big-money move of his own.

Or perhaps his journey will be different from Grealish’s. With Gerrard building out his Villa side and setting the boundaries for a squad that has top-half potential, perhaps Ramsey could help guide Villa back to European football, something that Grealish wasn’t able to do before his departure.

Sports Strength

Guide to American Ownership in European Football

The rise of interest in European football in the United States has been significant over the past two decades with the increase of social media’s presence and the accessibility for consumers to watch matches around the world.

In 2022, an American fan can watch matches on a variety of platforms like ESPN+, Paramount+ and Peacock to take in their favorite team’s fixtures in Europe’s Big Five leagues, including the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.

Why is this all so important though? Well, the growth of interest in the sport for fans across America has also piqued the curiosity of wealthy entrepreneurs in the U.S. and it’s led to their presence in Europe rising as well.

In the Premier League alone, eight Americans or American-backed ownership groups have at least a minority stake in what’s considered the top division in the entire sport, accounting for roughly 40% of all ownership.

The importance of American ownership presence in Europe can’t be overstated though because of the opportunities that will further arise in the coming years as a byproduct of Stan Kroenke’s stake in Arsenal or John Henry and Tom Werner’s controlling interest at Liverpool, as two examples.

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Clubs across Europe have become more infatuated with the idea of recruiting American players to compete in top leagues, with the Bundesliga currently being the biggest hub for U.S.-based talent.

Ricardo Pepi’s recent move to Augsburg was a perfect example of American influence playing a role considering the club has David Blitzer as one of its key stakeholders.

Blitzer is an American private equity investor that has major stake in clubs across the United States like the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Real Salt Lake, as well as Premier League side Crystal Palace and Augsburg in Germany.

ONE37pm is breaking down the American ownership across Europe’s biggest leagues and how these clubs are succeeding.

Premier League – England

Arsenal – Stan Kroenke

For American sports fans, Kroenke is the owner of the Los Angeles Rams and Colorado Rapids, but in June 2008 he officially took over the majority owner of legendary Premier League side Arsenal. The Gunners have since won four FA Cup titles despite not having won the Premier League since 2003/04.

Aston Villa – Wesley Edens

Edens joined Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris in a majority takeover of Aston Villa in 2018 and since that time Villa have begun their ascent once again in the Premier League. Despite selling star attacker Jack Grealish to Manchester City in 2021, Villa have been extremely active in the transfer market and have even brought in Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to manage the club.

Burnley – Alan Pace/ALK Capital

Pace acquired Burnley in December 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and made a promise to supporters that they could keep their remaining ownership stake of around six percent or be bought out and receive club credits in the future. 

Crystal Palace – Josh Harris/David Blitzer

In 2015, American Josh Harris and David Blitzer revealed they were part of a group proceeding with taking over Crystal Palace despite previous owner and English businessman Steve Parish staying involved. American John Textor also entered the fold in 2021 when he invested over $100 million to join the partnership.

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Harris and Blitzer are known for their stakes in the New Jersey Devils (NHL) and Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), while Textor previously served as executive chairman of FuboTV and is now CEO of Facebank.

Leeds United – 49ers Enterprises

In May 2018, 49ers Enterprises became a minority owner of Leeds and they are headed up by the York family – Denise DeBartolo York, Jed York and John York – who also run the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. The move came around the same time as when Leeds announced Marcelo Bielsa would be taking over as club manager in the most expensive managerial deal in Leeds history. The club are currently in their second season back in the Premier League after Bielsa helped get the side promoted from the Championship in 2020.

Liverpool – John Henry/Tom Werner/LeBron James

Fenway Sports Group, led by John Henry and Tom Werner, have controlled Liverpool for over a decade now after taking over in 2010. NBA superstar LeBron James also has a minority stake in the club after signing a marketing deal with the Fenway Sports Group.

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Their group has been vital in creating a revamped culture at Liverpool in the 2010s, including winning Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles. Fenway also owns the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing and various other ventures.

Manchester United – Glazer Family

The Glazers are known for also owning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL as well as famed Premier League side Manchester United. The Glazers have had an ownership stake since the early 2000s and by 2005 they had up to a 98% controlling stake in United. They have been ambitious with their marquee signings over the years by bringing in top talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and others. 

Championship – England

Barnsley – Chien Lee/Paul Conway/Billy Beane

The Championship side was sold to Chien Lee, Paul Conway and Billy Beane in 2017. The Oakland Athletics front office executive Beane, who was famously portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball, also plays a role in the club’s analytics. The club haven’t reached the Premier League since 1997/98.

Coventry City – Joy Seppala

Hedge fund owner Seppala has owned Coventry since 2007 but the club has mostly bounced around between the Championship and League One during that span. The Sky Blues have a long history battling now-Premier League side Leicester City in the lower divisions, but the two sides haven’t met since 2012.

Fulham – Shahid Khan

Khan has been a familiar face around English football since 2013 given Fulham’s back-and-forth endeavors in the Premier League and English Championship. Fulham is the longest-running London-based football club dating back to 1879.

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Khan is also known for owning the Jacksonville Jaguars and has made a concerted effort to play several NFL games in London over the years to expand their global presence.

Millwall – John Berylson/Richard Smith

John Berylson and his group took over in 2007 and the club have actually enjoyed some success in the lower divisions. Millwall have competed in the Championship for the past five seasons and have come close to promotion on several occasions which would be a significant feat for a club that currently boasts a squad value of roughly $38 million based on Transfermarkt valuations.

Swansea City – Stephen Kaplan/Jason Levien

Swansea is a historic side that’s known throughout the United Kingdom for being one of the most successful Welsh clubs. Kaplan and Levien became co-owners in 2016 around the same time American manager Bob Bradley was coaching the Swans. Ultimately, Bradley was sacked shortly after but Swansea has been consistently towards the top of the Championship since.

League One – England

Ipswich City – Mike O’Leary/Gamechanger 20

O’Leary took over at Ipswich recently in 2021 and the club is aiming to make a significant leap to the Premier League in the future. In the past Ipswich has had a rich history, including having Sir Bobby Robson as a previous owner. During his opening press conference, O’Leary said, “We are here to help the club climb the football pyramid. Promotion to the Championship as soon as possible is the immediate aim. It’s possible this season but if it takes another year or so, so be it.”

Plymouth Argyle – Simon Hallett

Hallett became a majority owner in 2018 for the League One side after previously being involved in the club’s ownership. He’s done a great job renovating the team’s historic venue, Home Park, which has been around since 1901 and remains a legendary English stadium to visit.

Portsmouth – Michael Eisner

Portsmouth’s financial struggle were documented for years, but Eisner has helped steady the ship since coming aboard in 2017. Pompey Supporters Trust – a fan-owned group aiming to save Portsmouth – helped keep the club from going through liquidation back in 2013, but former Disney CEO Eisner became involved as well and now his investment group The Tornante Company owns Portsmouth outright.

Wycombe Wanderers – Rob Couhig

American lawyer Rob Couhig and his family helped Wycombe reach the Championship in 2020 and it was momentous for the club for a number of reasons. Adebayo Akinfenwa’s notable post-game speech about the courage and passion he and his teammates exhibited throughout the season was memorable, but Wycombe are now aiming to be competitive past that triumph.

Serie A – Italy

Fiorentina – Rocco Commisso

Commisso is still one of the more well known American owners because of his ownership in legendary NASL side New York Cosmos. Their struggles to find a permanent league have been well documented over the years, but Fiorentina is on the rise under Commisso. They currently have one of the top young players in Serie A and all of Europe with Dusan Vlahovic. 

Genoa – 777 Partners

In 2021, Steven W. Pasko and Josh Wander of 777 Partners took over Genoa and the club have since gone out and made legendary player Andriy Shevchenko manager after he left the Ukraine national team. Although Genoa have bounced around between Serie A and Serie B their new owners seem to be willing to invest in the club in order to improve.

AC Milan – Elliott Management Corporation

Milan are one of the most historic sides in football and in 2017 America hedge fund group Elliott Management Corporation became involved. There have been so many legendary players throughout the history of the club, but they’ve gone out and spent wisely on younger talents over recent seasons like Fikayo Tomori and Sandro Tonali. 

Roma – Dan Friedkin

Dan Friedkin and the Friedkin Group took over Roma in 2020 and it has sparked some big moves thus far for the club based in Rome. Jose Mourinho took over as manager not too long ago and the club has also paid top dollar for players like striker Tammy Abraham, who came over from Chelsea.

Spezia – Robert Platek

Spezia joined the fold with an American owner in 2021 when Robert Platek got involved with the club. Platek’s private equity firm MSD Capital has been involved in helping out various clubs throughout Europe in the past by lending money to English sides Derby County, Southampton, Sunderland and Burnley. Platek also owns Danish top-flight side Sønderjysk Elitesport.

Venezia – Duncan Niederauer

Ducan Niederauer, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, and his VFC Newco 2020 group own Venezia.

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The club has become very successful in its marketing through utilizing social media to capture the essence of the city and use its fashion roots to help promote the club through its dazzling kit designs and iconic images of the stadium and surroundings.

Serie B – Italy

Parma – Kyle Krause

When Krause took over at Parma it was a significant moment for the club that has previously featured Italian legends like Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro and so many more. Parma even managed to bring back Buffon this season despite currently playing in Italy’s second division. Krause, who owns the American convenience store chain Kum & Go, is hoping that he can help the club return to the top flight.

Ascoli – Matt Rizzetta/North Six Group

Matt Rizzetta has a lot of influence in Italian football, also boasting a stake in Campobasso Calcio – a fourth-division Italian club. He’s based out of New York and hopes that his connections with Italian Football TV can bring a new generation of fans to both Ascoli and Campobasso.

La Liga – Spain

Mallorca – Robert Sarver/Steve Nash/Stu Holden/Kyle Martino

Sarver also owns the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, but Holden, Martino and Nash all have significant football connections. Holden and Martino both played professionally abroad and represented the U.S. Men’s National Team and Nash previously played basketball for the Suns and other teams but grew up playing football as well. He’s held a number of large charitable football matches in the past to raise money for great causes.

Ligue 1 – France

Marseille – Frank McCourt

McCourt took charge of Marseille in 2016 and the club has enjoyed a fair share of success during the period since. Marseille have finished top five in Ligue 1 every season since and thye currently have a host of talented young players including Matteo Guendhouzi, Boubacar Kamara and USMNT attacker Konrad de la Fuente.

Sports Strength

Kola Bokinni Talks Ted Lasso and Arsenal

Proper football culture in the United States seemingly grows daily, and at the center of where the two meet currently is Ted Lasso.

The hit Apple TV show profiles fictitious Premier League club FC Richmond, which is coached by Jason Sudeikis’ character, Ted Lasso.

Paul Desbaillets recently had the opportunity to speak with actor Kola Bokinni about a variety of topics, including what it’s like being a main character in the show, his love for Arsenal FC and many other things.

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Bokinni’s prominence in the show comes from his role as Isaac McAdoo, FC Richmond’s center back who also serves as the club’s resident barber in the locker room.

The London-born Bokinni has also appeared in other hit programs like Black Mirror, Top Boy and Foresight.

Ted Lasso is entering its third season, which is expected to premier during the summer of 2022.

Be sure to check out more content with Bokinni on Proper Football’s social channels and on ONE37pm’s Youtube page.

Sports Strength

Meet Ralf Ragnick, Godfather of Gegenpressing

Ralf Ragnick has been widely-respected throughout the Bundesliga and Germany’s top divisions for decades, but now the former RB Leipzig and Schalke guru will take on a new challenge in the Premier League.

The 63-year-old former Head of Sport and Development at Lokomotiv Moscow will likely finalize a deal at Manchester United next week making him the interim manager at Old Trafford until May, when the club will decide his long-term fate.

In addition to his role as the club’s newest manager, Ragnick has agreed to stay on for two years as a club advisor even if he doesn’t continue as United’s head coach.

To really know Ragnick, it’s important to know his background and some of the managers that will forever be linked with the former holding midfielder.

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Several of the Premier League’s top managers have come from Ragnick’s coaching tree, including Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp. They’re both UEFA Champions League-winning coaches at their respective clubs.

Meanwhile, Southampton’s ​​Ralph Hasenhüttl, Leipzig’s Jesse Marsch and Bayern Munich’s Julian Nagelsmann are also disciples of Ragnick from their days spent together at Leipzig when he was the RB Global’s Director of Football.

History of Ragnick

The German began his coaching career in his native country back in the 1980s with local side Viktoria Backnang before moving on to Stuttgart as an academy coach.

After a series of stops at lower-level sides, Ragnick began to take on bigger roles in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart’s senior side followed by Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

Most recently, Ragnick has served at Lokomotiv Moscow as Head of Sport and Development, a position that he only took in July 2021.

Ragnick is best-known for his role at Red Bull Global as the director of football. He oversaw all things Red Bull for various clubs within their umbrella, including Leipzig, Salzburg and other Red Bull clubs around the world.


He brought the club from the fourth division in Germany all the way up to the Bundesliga, as well as playing a guiding role in helping Leipzig reach the UEFA Champions League for the first time in club history.

As a manager, Ragnick boasts a win percentage of 47 percent combined during his tenure at various clubs throughout Germany.

Style of Play

Ragnick is credited with the creation of “gegenpressing,” the constant pressuring of opponents after the attacking side loses possession through counterpressing. 

The German has always been involved in high-tempo settings, and brought this style to RB Leipzig and Red Bull’s other clubs. 

Back in 1998, Ragnick made a television appearance where he first laid out his ideals about football and how he wants his sides to play. Since then, he hasn’t strayed from the concept.

In fact, during his time at Leipzig, Ragnick would use a clock that was designed to apply pressure to his players. It would give his side eight seconds to win the ball back after losing possession and then another 10 seconds to get a shot on goal.

Everything about Ragnick’s system is about tempo and maximizing the quantity of chances his teams can get each match.

What the Future Holds

Ragnick certainly has his work cut out at Man United regardless of what his role is in the future. 

The club is currently undergoing one of its roughest stretches since Sir Alex Ferguson left United over a decade ago, so Ragnick is tasked with not only restoring order but finding consistency as the club marches forward.

Ragnick historically prefers young players that fit his gegenpressing system, which will make United interesting to watch after signing Cristiano Ronaldo back from Juventus this summer.

United are currently one of the worst pressing sides in the Premier League, with a success rate of just over 28 percent.

For Ragnick to succeed in Manchester, he’ll need to get young players like Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford to buy into his up-tempo system that relies heavily on strong work rate when his teams don’t have the ball.

With the January transfer window quickly approaching, United could be serious players in the market as they look to bolster their defense, which has conceded the third-most goals in the Premier League.

Sports Strength

Top 5 Coaching Candidates for Manchester United

The Manchester Derby didn’t go according to plan for Manchester United or Ole Gunnar Solskjær, but the good news for the Red Devils manager is that his job appears to be safe; at least for now.

Supporters have been clamoring for the former Norway international to be relieved of his duties, however, the United board doesn’t appear to share the same opinion. Or at least, not at this current time.

Solskjær, now in his fourth season as manager, is running on borrowed time, especially given Man United’s recent form. 

Defeats to Man City, Liverpool and Leicester City have all put a huge damper on the Red Devils’ recent endeavors, putting Untied nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and it’s only early November.

Normally, the international break would be the ideal time to make a managerial switch, but it appears United has its own agenda in mind and they aren’t budging from it at this given time despite links to Brendan Rodgers, Zinedine Zidane and previously Antonio Conte — before he accepted the Tottenham gig.

It’s still feasible to think that OGS won’t be the long-term solution at Old Trafford, so ONE37pm is taking a look at five top candidates that United could replace Solskjær with in the future.

Zinedine Zidane
Current Club: Free Agent
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The Frenchman would likely be atop many club’s wishlists, and with Zidane hanging back and waiting for his next gig it’s more of a “when” than “if” he coaches again.

There’s been heavy links between Zidane and high-profile gigs in France, including his native country’s national team job, but a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo would be quite enticing as well.

The pair won several Champions League titles together at Real Madrid, and there’s no doubting this United team’s talent, which includes Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Brendan Rodgers
Current Job: Leicester City
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Rodgers isn’t a sexy pick from the group of managers on this list, but he commands the respect of a dressing room and knows English football as well as most managers. 

Unfortunately for Rodgers, his record in the Premier League isn’t the greatest, only winning roughly 50 percent of his matches at both Leicester and Liverpool after struggling with Watford, Reading and Swansea City.

Mauricio Pochettino
Current Job: Paris Saint-Germain
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Pochettino appears to be heavily in the mix for United if he were to leave PSG this season, and going from coaching Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo would be quite the storyline.

Pochettino’s time in England had its share of ups and downs at Tottenham, but ultimately he got the most out of his Spurs squad, even reaching a Champions League final during his tenure.

PSG’s next few months of fixtures could dictate if the club moves on to yet another manager, which would given Pochettino the chance to move back to England.

Erik Ten Hag
Current Job: Ajax
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As i’ve stated in the past few months, Ajax is one of the most exciting clubs to watch in European football this season and it’s directly due to the style that Erik Ten Hag wants to play.

Ajax have lost just once this season in all competitions, including boasting a perfect Champions League record through four matches. 

Ten Hag would need to adapt to life outside of the Eredivisie, but the former Twente defender appears poised for a bigger gig in the near future.

Julian Nagelsmann
Current Job: Bayern Munich
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The chances of Nagelsmann leaving Bayern at this stage are pretty slim, but that doesn’t mean the German manager isn’t qualified.

And if one thing has rung true recently in the Premier League it’s that German managers are very capable of not only succeeding, but winning major trophies.

Look at Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool as the two biggest examples. 

Nagelsmann is young and has a lot of vision when it comes to how he wants his sides to play stylistically, and would certainly demand that United’s players conform to his identity.

Sports Strength

Cristiano Ronaldo Masks Manchester United’s Major Flaws

When Cristiano Ronaldo moved back to Manchester United late in the summer transfer window it came as a surprise to many given the direction of the Premier League side.

Ronaldo is clearly still one of the top players on the planet, despite being 36 years old, but United is littered with youth in their attack with starlets like Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho.

Three months into the season though, Ronaldo is carrying this Red Devils side and single handedly ensuring Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s job as manager. 

Tuesday was yet another perfect display of the Portuguese attacker’s greatness. There may be long portions of the match where Ronaldo is darting around the pitch the way he did in his 20s, but ultimately everyone knows he’s out there and lurking.

United trailed not just once, but twice against Atalanta. The common theme on both occasions? Ronaldo was able to rescue United from an uncomfortable position.

The discussions around the Old Trafford side have been dominated by the team’s manager, and supporters are largely desperate for a change in that department, however, those talks only gloss over the major issues that linger in the squad.

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Harry Maguire has underwhelmed greatly since returning from injury last month and is now a huge liability at the heart of the United defense. 

The club also struggles mightily in the midfield as Solskjær regularly struggles to find consistency with players like Fred, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba when it comes to providing cover for the back line.

These issues aren’t hidden very well, and in fact, they’re on display almost every match at one point or another.

United’s greatest blessing, and perhaps curse though, remains Ronaldo. When the team was thrashed in a 5-0 beatdown at the hands of Liverpool recently, it appeared there was no coming back for Solskjær.

That wasn’t the case. The Norwegian was quickly able to turn the tide with a convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham, followed by Ronaldo’s heroics against Atalanta a day ago.

With the Manchester Derby looming on a date with Pep Guardiola and City, Solskjær and his boys could be right back under the microscope if the team underperforms. 

That’s the life of being a top club in the European landscape. It’s a challenge. Never forgiving and always begging the question; what have you done for me lately?

Although that question may be a bleak one for United to address at this time, Ronaldo is certainly doing his part and that means the attention is on the Portuguese superstar.