The notion of a football club having its own DNA is a flawed concept but it still manages to stir plenty of debate amongst supporters and at Old Trafford it's turned into their own modern-day culture war.
There were plenty of fans who winced every time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer used that phrase in a press conference. Solskjaer seemed to have a firm grasp on what Manchester United's DNA was, he just couldn't translate that into success on the pitch. Trophies eluded him and if United stand for anything then it is probably serial winning of silverware.
The decision to turn to Ralf Rangnick as interim manager was probably a lurch away from the idea of United's DNA. He was a bold appointment, an experienced German coach who is equally adept at operating in the corridors of power as he is on the training ground.
He is a firm belief on how football should be played, but even a football luminary like Rangnick was suckered into the idea of United having a DNA during his introductory press conference.
Twice he mentioned that phrase, which might have been the only moment that had supporters' sighing during an illuminating and intriguing media briefing.
But rather than wincing at the use of a phrase that eventually damned Solskjaer, it's perhaps worth considering Rangnick's own take on it.
He gave an honourable nod to United's traditions, but also made it clear it was time to modify them to the modern game rather than continue living in the past and in a style that is outdated when it comes to success.
“The important thing is to celebrate the DNA this club still has, but to also implement it into the transformation to modern football," said Rangnick.
“It’s pretty easy in football. You need to have a certain idea - what do we want to stand for, call it a corporate identity. How do we want to be seen? How do we want to play? How do our fans want us to play?
“Then you must make sure you have the best possible recruitment, sign the best possible players for this kind of football.
“And medium and long-term to have the best manager to develop, coach and train them."
Who the best manager to do that will be is a debate that will run and run for the next six months, especially if Rangnick enjoys success in his six-month interim period.
Rangnick might want to celebrate United's DNA but his comments about having an identity being "pretty easy" are fascinating. He wants to introduce a more dynamic style of play, demanding "pressing monsters" eventually, although he knows that will take time.
Rangnick was respectful of United's traditions, he gave a nod to wanting to meet Sir Alex Ferguson again and said all the right things, but his best contribution to the DNA debate at Old Trafford could be dragging the style of play into the 21st century.
It's a phrase that splits opinion inside the club as well as outside it. Appointing a Rangnick is probably a break from that tradition and now he can continue that on the pitch.
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