July 29th, 2020 | Football
Hannibal Mejbri signed for Manchester United towards the end of the 2019 summer transfer window from A.S Monaco for a fee thought to be around 5m euros rising to around 10m euros.
The seventeen-year-old has featured for Man United in both the U18 Premier League, Premier League 2 (the U23s), and FA Youth Cup.
Hannibal enjoys having the ball and always looks forwards, rarely passing backwards or sideways. He mostly operates as a no.8 or no.10 and uses his body to try and buy himself more time on the ball, but will need to develop physically to become more dominant with and without the ball, like Paul Pogba.
Hannibal is extremely composed on the ball and possess all the attributes necessary to be a midfielder. He doesn’t just stand around waiting for others to win the ball back and do all the hard running, he does all of that which is vital for a Manchester United player. His passing is accurate and purposeful and he’s always looking to release the forwards in behind the defence, something which could help if he got in the first-team with United’s pacy and intelligent forwards like Rashford, Martial, James and Greenwood.
I can’t see Hannibal becoming a defensive midfielder by himself, but could work in a double-pivot like Paul Pogba is with Nemanja Matic in the first team. He could easily operate as a no.10 getting forward, playing those passes and getting to the edge of, or in, the box to be a goal-threat. But I believe operating as a no.8 would suit him best. Hannibal runs a lot and his desire to play teammates in behind could still be done from that position, it would also allow him to have more of an impact on the game from various positions on the pitch as he can pass it over the top, diagonally or short on the ground.
Nicky Butt is the Head of First-Team Development and acts as the link between the first-team and academy. Butt has been quoted as saying Hannibal has “such an immense talent to go on and play at a high level, but there’s a long way to go yet”. Butt has also said Hannibal is a different kind of player to when Paul Pogba was a youth player. He was quoted saying “Hannibal is different to Paul when Paul was a youth team player” saying Hannibal isn’t as “dominant” or “powerful” also adding “he needs to build up his size and build up his physicality”.
Hannibal has lots of talent, and with the fee United paid they clearly have high-hopes for the French midfielder. He’s going to need time to develop and learn the style of English football, but United have another exciting young prospect coming through.
Please note: The football articles that feature on this site are being written by Jack Dixon as part of his work experience. He is a teenager and looking for work experience within football journalism.
* Butt quotes from exclusive interview with Manchester Evening News