Ralf Rangnick and Antero Henrique: Who are the two ‘Sporting Directors’ that have been linked with a role at Newcastle United?
These two names have been linked with taking up a ‘Sporting Director’ role at Newcastle United - but who are they?
Under Mike Ashley, Newcastle operated with a skeleton staff with most major footballing decisions falling to Lee Charnley and the new owners have already voiced their desire to improve the Newcastle United this aspect of the club.
Here, we look at two key figures that have been linked with an off-field role at Newcastle and see what they would bring to United if hired:
Who are they?
Rangnick rose to prominence first as a manager with Schalke and Hoffenheim. After leaving Schalke, Rangnick took up a role as Sporting Director at first RB Salzburg and then RB Leipzig.
Whilst he also had spells as manager at Leipzig, it is his work behind the scenes, helping to set up the great academy and scouting structure that has produced players like Chelsea’s Timo Werner and Liverpool’s Naby Keita that has revolutionised German football.
Rangnick is known as ‘The Professor’ and has three key concepts for his work: Kapital, Konzept and Kompetenz (translated as money, concept and competence) that he ensures are at the forefront of all his work.
He currently works in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow, a job he was appointed to earlier this summer.
Henrique’s first job as a Director of Football came at Porto, a position he held for 12 years.
The 53 year-old must have impressed in this role as he was then headhunted by PSG to become their Sporting Director in summer 2017.
His first moves in that role was to sign Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Henrique left Paris two years later and in January 2020, he was linked to a role at Manchester United, however, that never materialised.
What could Newcastle United expect from these appointments?
Rangnick will likely be involved very heavily in the club and could use his experiences in Germany to revolutionise Newcastle’s academy and scouting set up.
A straight replication of the Red Bull model may not be required as Newcastle United's new owners will have more money to spend, however, a significant improvement on their current facilities is needed - something Rangnick would be the perfect man to oversee.
As mentioned, Henrique has the experience of working with very wealthy football clubs.
His work at PSG in helping them to transform into the European superpower they now are may prove invaluable as Newcastle’s expectations rise over the next few years - assuming they survive relegation this season of course.
He also reportedly has a huge contacts book, something that may be utilised for incoming transfers.
What have people said about them?
Guido Schaefer (former teammate of Jurgen Klopp): "Rangnick inspired Jurgen Klopp’s style to play football and Klopp saw the match and the idea from Hoffenheim, and said ‘yes, this is nice’"
Nasser Al-Khelaifi (PSG Chairman and CEO): “Our new sporting director is a benchmark in his field in Europe. He has the personality and the ability to further develop the club as one of the most respected and high-performing sports institutions in the world."