Haaland, Werner & Rangnick’s 10 biggest successes

Stefan Bienkowski
Stefan Bienkowski Updated: 29 Nov 2021 15:58 CET 6 min read
Erling Haaland at RB Salzburg

New Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick is undoubtedly a celebrated tactician with a wonderful track record of successes on the pitch.

However, the German coach is also just as renowned for plucking diamonds from the rough at a number of the clubs he has worked at.

Whether it be during his numerous managerial spells or his role at Red Bull from 2015-2020, Rangnick has always had his finger on the pulse of youth football across the continent.

Here are 10 of his most notable successes in the transfer market to date.

Erling Haaland

Long before Erling Haaland was a world star wanted by every top team in Europe, he was a young striker plying his trade at Molde in the Norwegian top tier. And before anyone knew who he was, Rangnick’s Salzburg swooped in and signed him on a five-year contract.

As most football fans will know, Haaland went from strength to strength in Austria with notably performances in the Champions League for Red Bull Salzburg, before making the move to Borussia Dortmund in 2019.

By that point Rangnick had left the Red Bull operation and his absence was later cited by RB Leipzig as a notable factor in their inability to convince the striker to make the move from Salzburg to their sister club.

Konate was convinced to move to Germany by Rangnick

Konate was convinced to move to Germany by Rangnick

Ibrahima Konate

Now a Liverpool star, Ibrahima Konate was once a young prospect in French football still struggling to figure out whether he wanted to be a midfielder or defender. Then a visit from Rangnick to his family home convinced him that a move to Germany and RB Leipzig would be the best place for his development.

Konate made the move to RB Leipzig in 2017 and despite notable injuries ruling him out of becoming a regular starter for the Bundesliga side, the young French player maintained a strong relationship with Rangnick and developed on and off the pitch for four years before eventually making the move to Anfield.

Per Mertesacker

As perhaps the only player on this list that wasn’t scouted and signed by Rangnick during his time with Red Bull, Per Mertesacker instead got his break under the German manager when he was called up to Hannover’s first team and made his senior debut in the 2003/04 season.

Although the towering defender’s first few games didn’t go to plan - which led to him being dropped back into the club’s second team - Mertesacker did later cement a spot at the German side and was later adorned with nicknames such as “the defensive pole” and “Mr. Clean” due to his size and ability to avoid late challenges and bookings.

Werner only became the striker he is today after joining RB Leipzig

Werner only became the striker he is today after joining RB Leipzig

Timo Werner

Timo Werner certainly didn’t develop into a Bundesliga player under Rangnick at RB Leipzig but it was at the Saxony club that he became the player that he is today.

At his previous club, Stuttgart, Werner was often shunted out wide and used as an ineffective winger. It wasn’t until he moved to Leipzig that the future Germany No.9 would be used as a striker and developed into a player that would eventually earn a big-money move to Chelsea.

Dayot Upamecano

Dayot Upamecano is now an established central defender at Bayern Munich but he could have just as easily found himself at Manchester United, had it not been for Rangnick. In an interview with the Athletic, the French defender confirmed that it was the German coach that convinced Upamecano to make the move to Red Bull Salzburg instead of Old Trafford in order to develop his game.

"I was a young boy. I wanted to sign for them straight away. Manchester United! But then my parents took me aside and said: 'Let's think carefully about this',” said Upamecano.

"We thought about it for a long time and then decided that going 'etape par etape' [step by step] was the best option for me. Everything Ralf said came true."

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Amadou Haidara

Following the confirmation of Rangnick's appointment, Amadou Haidara's name started doing the rounds as a possible signing for the new Man Utd boss, and you can see why.

Rangnick has been key in Haidara's development as he has oversaw his progress at both RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig.

The 23-year-old can is equally adept at playing as a box-to-box midfielder as he is as a playmaker, and shone as a wide playmaker under Julian Nagelsmann in 2021/21.

RB Leipzig bought him from Salzburg for €19 million, and they will be demanding at least double that should any suitors come calling.

Matheus Cunha

Matheus Cunha may be struggling to make an impact at Atletico Madrid after a big-money transfer in the summer of 2021, but in Germany he impressed for both RB Leipzig and Hertha.

It was Rangnick who initially recognised his talents while at Sion to bring him to RB Leipzig.

It remains to be seen whether Rangnick would have allowed Cunha to move to league rivals Hertha, but the club still made a profit on the move which is a major part of Leipzig's business model.

Olmo was scouted by RB Leipzig while playing in Croatia

Olmo was scouted by RB Leipzig while playing in Croatia

Dani Olmo

Dani Olmo was a member of the famous La Masia academy at Barcelona and grew up with the ethos of the club ingrained in him.

However, when turning professional he took the bold step of moving across Europe to Dinamo, where he eventually flourished.

One of the last gifts that Rangnick gave Leipzig was the young Spaniard, as he identified him as a talent who could not only help the club on the pitch, but who would more than likely garner a big transfer fee in return in the future.

Olmo has been fabulous for Leipzig since signing, and the club have Rangnick to thank for facilitating the deal.

Karim Adeyemi

It takes someone with a clear eye for talent to spot a player released by a massive club who may have something to offer.

That is how Karim Adeyemi eventually joined Salzburg after failing to agree a new contract with Bayern Munich.

Adeyemi's progress has meant that the club have not felt the impact of Patson Daka's departure as he has stepped up massively, especially in 2021/22.

So far this campaign he has scored a magnificent 15 goals in 23 starts in all competitions, and is reportedly being looked at by some of Europe's elite sides.

Another big profit incoming for the Austrian giants.

Christopher Nkunku

Christopher Nkunku has been one of the most impressive player's in the Champions League so far this season.

The young Frenchman is enjoying a sparkling in Europe, having scored seven goals in his opening five games in the group stage. Overall, he has 13 goals and six assists in 19 starts in all competitions.

Nkunku represents yet another player who RB Leipzig decided to take a punt on.

After failing to be given enough opportunities at Paris Saint-Germain, he made the move to Germany and is developing into an all-round midfielder.

Physicality, finishing ability, poise in possession, and Rangnick recognised it all years ago.