For Manchester United to sign Hannibal Mejbri, the £9 million fee had to pass through the checks of Nicky Butt, Ed Woodward and a number of others. He’s just 16 years old but has quickly earned the affection of United fans with his performances.
Hannibal Mejbri creates two goals vs Everton
Mejbri looked good in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Everton after making his debut against Derby County. He created United’s first goal with a low, cut-back cross from the right flank. Charlie Wellens dispatched that chance and later Mejbri would feed fellow new signing Dillon Hoogerwerf to earn a penalty that Charlie McCann netted.
It usually takes some time for new signings at youth level to settle. Even highly talented footballers like Tahith Chong, Aliou Traore and Arnau Puigmal took a few games to find themselves. Mejbri has eased in well already.
“Manchester is a town that eats and breathes football, it is lovely.”Hannibal Mejbri
With such a large fee already in his young past, expectation will follow Mejbri. Tracked by Chelsea, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Leicester City, he turned down offers from Liverpool and Arsenal to join United.
“It is an honour. Manchester United has a great history and is also known for its youth training,” Mejbri told Le Parisien after completing the €10m deal.
His curly hair makes him easily recognisable just like Tahith Chong. But, like Chong, it’s his qualities that make truly him stand out. His 16-year-old body is matched by the vision of a player far older. In the mould of many modern-day midfielders, Mejbri drops deep to receive possession before carrying it forward with confident, close ball control.
Vision and passing range impresses
His passing range is instantly evident and in an inconsistent team, Mejbri showed his quality against Everton. He created chances for Helm, McCann and Shoretire as well as forcing two good saves himself.
The Frenchman, who has Tunisian roots, is supported well at United. Patrice Evra is working with the under-18s at the moment and spoke to Mejbri one-to-one on the pitch ahead of his debut against Derby.
“I am often going to be able to rub shoulders with Pogba and Martial,” Mejbri excitedly said ahead of travelling to Manchester. Not only that, but United also brought in Noam Emeran, another French youngster who Mejbri has played with before. A couple of years older is Aliou Traore, an excellent midfielder who will help Mejbri to settle and improve.
It’s an exciting future for Mejbri. Born in the same year that Cristiano Ronaldo joined United, he’s a prospect far from ready to be tipped for the first team. But his start has been promising and his ability is evident.
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