Manchester United are losing a race against time to ensure interim manager Ralf Rangnick can be in the dugout for the visit of Arsenal on Thursday, while there are fears he may not even be on the touchline in time for Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace.
Rangnick was unveiled on Monday morning and will take charge of United until the end of the season before heading upstairs at Old Trafford in a consultancy role.
But the Daily Mail report that work permit issues and new COVID-19 restrictions mean that the 63-year-old may not be able to physically take charge until the end of this week.
United staff were already aware that work permit red tape would delay Rangnick’s start to life in England, while new coronavirus rules for travellers heading into the UK from Tuesday could now cause further disruption.
A club spokesman said: “We are working calmly and carefully to secure a visa for Ralf in line with all relevant regulations and protocols. These are processes which have to be followed and we are doing so as swiftly as possible.”
Should Rangnick not be in the dugout, then Michael Carrick will take charge from the touchline once again.
The former United midfielder had been in caretaker charge following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal just over a week ago, overseeing an important Champions League win at Villarreal and a hard-earned draw at Chelsea.
After that stalemate at Stamford Bridge, Carrick insisted Rangnick – who had not been officially appointed yet – had no input on team selection or tactics, with fans speculating the incoming German was the reason that Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped.
Carrick also hit back at claims that United’s pressing had been sub-standard – an area the team are expected to thrive in under Rangnick’s rule.