Ralf Rangnick's coaching aura is already so powerful Gary Neville erroneously claimed he had picked the Manchester United team at Chelsea. On Monday morning, an ill-informed pundit suggested Rangnick was commanding Darren Fletcher, sporting an earpiece, like a Jedi guiding an apprentice through the spirit of the Force.

Any sensible observer knew Fletcher was in dialogue with United's analysts, who survey the game from a vantage point. Michael Carrick was in contact with analysts Paul Brand and Tom Green until Fletcher was miked up last week.

Before United settled on John Murtough as football director in March, Rangnick was one of a surfeit of continental options linked with a role that went through various name changes. United felt Rangnick and his peers were solely synonymous with recruitment and wanted broader expertise.

They have now turned to the professorial German to salvage a season where they have won one of their last eight Premier League fixtures. As revealed by the Manchester Evening News last Wednesday, Rangnick was United's preferred candidate to take over as interim manager.

Rangnick was at the top of United's shortlist before his glowing interview with Murtough, technical director Fletcher and the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Club sources say Rangnick outlined a clear style of play to arrest United's identity crisis under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Murtough visited RB Leipzig in 2019 on a fact-finding reconaissance and spent time with Rangnick. Murtough's decisiveness in earmarking Rangnick as Solskjaer's interim replacement is said to have been key.

Rangnick, 63, has never coached professionally outside of Germany but is a self-confessed Anglophile and studied at the University of Sussex in the late 70s and early 80s. He is a fluent English speaker and United believe his leadership and technical skills make him ideally equipped to oversee a successful second half of the c.ampaign.

United expect Rangnick to bring a handful of coaching staff members with him to Manchester but anticipate the coaching set-up will remain. Fletcher has become more involved on matchdays since Carrick took over yet assistant manager Mike Phelan is becoming an increasingly peripheral presence in the dugout.

Once Rangnick finishes his interim stint, he will start a two-year consultancy role that Murtough pushed for and club staff believe could provide invaluable insight. The consultancy option was included in the revised terms submitted to Rangnick after he rejected United's opening offer.

Rangnick is awaiting a Governing Body Endorsement before he can take official charge, with United's next fixture at home to Arsenal in the Premier League on Thursday.