Hannibal Mejbri and Facundo Pellistri are looking to make their mark in the Manchester United first team over the next few months.
Facundo Pellistri is a footballer in a rare situation. He has more international starts for his country than he does for his club – which is just one for Manchester United in his career to date. In total, he has 13 Uruguay appearances and only 12 at club level.
Hannibal Mejbri is a player whose situation is even more extreme. The midfielder now has a total of 25 appearances for Tunisia at senior level, and only three for the Manchester United first team.
The talented midfielder was kept around, rather than being sent out on loan, and an important few months lie ahead for him.
Hannibal set to leave for AFCON
Hannibal helped Tunisia seal their place at the AFCON with a win over Botswana at the end of last week. He started the 3-0 win, completing 34 of 38 passes in midfield.
Playing at the AFCON in January is a great opportunity for Hannibal. It is also a new, sizeable obstacle to his Manchester United career, and could also block a possible loan move in 2024 too.
Hannibal could miss six games for United including the early FA Cup rounds. So it is really important he uses the months between now and then, to make himself part of Erik ten Hag‘s plans, rather than an afterthought.
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Ray of hope for Hannibal
The good news is Ten Hag chose to keep Hannibal, and did include him on the bench against Arsenal. He could be part of the Champions League matchday squad which travels to Bayern, a great place to be.
An opportunity could soon follow in the Carabao Cup when United host Crystal Palace later this month.
A slight tactical reshuffle prompted by Antony’s delayed return, could also impact Hannibal.
While teammate Pellistri could feature on the right wing, Erik ten Hag may prefer to move Bruno Fernandes or Mason Mount onto the right – which might in turn create some space in attacking midfield for Hannibal.
An interesting few months lie ahead for Hannibal. If he gets an opportunity – he has to take it.