A clip from a training session at Manchester United shows exciting youngster Hannibal Mejbri bamboozle several members of the first team squad, including midfielder Fred.
Mejbri, who is just 18 years of age, is seen dazzling the Brazilian with some frighteningly fast feet before offloading the ball to Donny van de Beek. The youngster then receives the ball from the latter and skips away from a lunging challenge by Fred to confidently tuck the ball into the back of the net.
Hannibal Mejbri 🔥
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) September 7, 2021
There are high hopes for Mejbri at Old Trafford. Having impressed at AS Monaco, the midfielder was snapped up by The Red Devils in 2019, for a fee rumoured to be between €5 and 10 million.
He made his first-team debut on the final day of last season’s Premier League campaign, replacing Juan Mata during a 2-1 win at Wolves. Comparisons have been drawn between Mejbri’s style and that of compatriot Paul Pogba, who also broke through the United academy.
However, whilst appreciative of Mejbri’s ability, Nicky Butt, the former head of first team development at the club, says they are two very dissimilar players.
“Hannibal is different to Paul,” Butt told The Manchester Evening News in an interview last February. “He’s not as powerful as Paul, he isn’t as dominant as him, he’s a different kind of player to Paul but we all know the talent he’s got. It’s been written out there in the press many times with the signing and the fee.
But he’s a young man who’s come to a new country who needs time. He’s a very, very talented boy but he’s still very immature. He’s still a baby. He’s not got anything on him just yet, he needs to build up his size and build up his physicality.
Talent-wise, he’s got such an immense talent to go on and play at a high level but there’s a long way to go yet.”
Mejbri will hope to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, all of whom have graduated from United’s academy and established themselves as stars of the first team.
In December 2019, the club broke an extraordinary record- 4,000 successive senior matches in which at least one youth graduate is in the first team’s match day squad.
With that context behind him and footwork that electrifying, it wouldn’t surprise us if we see Mejbri in action for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men sooner rather than later.