French wonderkid Hannibal Mejbri completed his move to Manchester United over the weekend.
That’s a significant amount for a player at 16, and there will be high expectations on the young midfielder.
United confirmed the move is subject to FIFA approval, although this is expected to be a formality.
He is the third recruit from France in the last two years, following Noam Emeran and Aliou Traore, and he spoke with both players ahead of the move.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Mejbri says he is hoping to crack the first team by time he is 18.
He said: “Initially, I will join the U18 team. If I can get into the first team in two years, that would be good.”
He adds that to do so he must develop physically, while retaining his technique.
Mejbri spoke about how excited he was to sign with United.
He said: “It is an honour. 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.”
Mejbri said he is looking forward to meeting compatriots Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
He also referenced David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo as former greats he admired, and said he is learning about Eric Cantona too.
Cantona retired before Mejbri was even born, and he said ‘King Eric’ is not as revered in France as he is in Manchester.
Mejbri is one of a number of youngsters signed from abroad this summer, following Mateo Mejia, Bjorn Hardley, Dillon Hoogewerf and Johan Guadagno, arriving from Spain, Holland, and Sweden.
It’s good to see the club scouring Europe for top talent. Hoogewerf made his debut at the weekend as the under-18s beat Sunderland 3-0.
There’s no way of knowing how many of the new boys will make it, but the money reportedly paid to land Mejbri suggests the club are very hopeful he will be special.
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