‘He takes the p*ss’ – Everything you need to know about Hannibal Mejbri
Manchester United are reportedly set to fast-track Hannibal Mejbri’s development and promote the 17-year-old to the first team.
The Manchester Evening News suggest that he could be used as the sixth-choice midfielder for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side next season.
Mejbri is one of Europe’s most exciting young talents, and we’ve brought you the lowdown on the United prospect.
Who is he?
Born in January 2003, Mejbri started his career at Paris FC and AC Boulogne-Billancourt before moving to Monaco in 2017.
United fought off competition from Liverpool, Barcelona and Arsenal to secure his signature in 2019, with the Red Devils forking out an initial £4.2million fee that could rise to £8.4million.
The 17-year-old has a goal and three assists in 13 appearances in the Under-18 Premier League and also helped United reach the FA Youth Cup semi-finals.
It wasn’t long before he was called up to the Under-23s, recording three assists in his first five Premier League 2 games.
He has also made three appearances for France’s Under-17 side, scoring twice and registering three assists.
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You may remember Mejbri as the player taunted by Leeds United fans singing, “Sideshow Bob is f*cking sh*t,” during an FA Youth Cup tie.
The teenager took it well, however, and had the last laugh after Manchester United beat their rivals 1-0 at Old Trafford.
Where he plays
Mejbri is a creative midfielder and has mainly featured in the No.10 position for United but is able to play anywhere across the midfield three.
The youngster has already drawn comparisons with compatriot Paul Pogba due to his technical skills, excellent vision and confidence on the ball.
United already have a vast array of talent at their disposal in central midfield, but Jesse Lingard faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford and his potential departure could give Mejbri a chance to stake his claim in the first team.
What he said
“It is an honour,” Mejbri told Le Parisien after joining United. “Manchester United has a great history and is also known for its youth training. It will allow me to progress to try to play a day with the greatest.
“I watched a lot of videos from the past. Big names have worn the jersey of Manchester United, it’s an honour to pass after them.
“If I can make it to the first team in two years, it would be good. After that, everything will depend on me.”
What they’ve said
– “Hannibal’s a leader. The way he plays his football is 100mph, he’s non-stop running up and down,” head of first-team development Nicky Butt told the Manchester Evening News.
“He’s got his own path. We make sure when we sign players we always speak to the parents and give them an example of all different ways of getting into Man United’s first team.”
– “His performances have been very good,” United academy head Nick Cox told the Manchester Evening News.
“The first objective for any player that arrives from outside of the country is to settle and build relationships and acclimatise, in terms of where are you going to be living, what do you know about your environment.
“That’s really the only expectation we have on him at the moment in these early phases; it’s just to settle. And he’s doing that nicely. And then it’ll be about how do we help to nurture him, to challenge him to get as close to the first-team as we possibly can?”
– “He is composed, can go past a player and break a line,” a United source told the Athletic.
“He actually takes the piss sometimes against players a couple of years older than him. He’ll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way.”