The youngster has made a strong case to start for the senior team lately.
Manchester United’s academy is one of the best in the world. Their youth development is elite, having produced the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, the Neville brothers and more recently Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and more. Apart from these stars, their recent academy players Shola Shoretire, Joe Hugill, Teden Mengi, Dylan Levitt and Hannibal Mejbri are also in line to make their senior team debut in the upcoming future.
Hannibal Mejbri was signed by the Red Devils as a 16-year-old for a fee in the region of £9 million. His recent performances for the U-23s have been incredible. The French starlet has looked ready to take the next step into the senior setup and here are five reasons why he is ready to do so.
5. Physical development
When Hannibal Mejbri arrived in England, the task at hand for the teenager was huge. Being a natural creative midfielder, he is built in a certain way that can be bullied in the English game which is known to be physically challenging. To excel in one of the most physically demanding leagues, the starlet needed to develop his physical attributes.
In the recent string of performances, the 18-year-old has shown real promise in terms of physicality. Not only has his work rate improved immensely, Mejbri has learned to protect the ball, dribble out of tight situations and absorb tackles to draw fouls, something similar to what Jack Grealish does at Aston Villa.
4. Chance to play and learn from the best
Hannibal Mejbri’s introduction in the Manchester United senior squad would allow him to play regularly with the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba. The chance of playing alongside two of the best midfielders in the world does not come knocking often.
It is widely known that playing with better players improves one’s game automatically and therefore, Mejbri’s introduction into the first team becomes all the more important. At 18-years-old, he is ripe to begin playing alongside world class players.
3. Need for playmakers
Manchester United has a very strong midfield with depth. Players like Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Scott Mctominay, Fred, Donny van de Beek, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic make up a very balanced department. Having said that, with Mata’s advanced age and Pogba’s uncertain future, Manchester United needs backup for Fernandes.
With Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard trying to prove their worth on loan duties, Mejbri can fill that gap. He is more of a natural orchestrator than Donny Van De Beek and Angel Gomes’ departure has cleared the way for Mejbri to be introduced in the senior team.
2. Consistency at youth levels
During a 6-4 victory over Blackburn U23s, Hannibal Mejbri was all over the opponents as he excelled in all of his duties. Despite Amad Diallo hogging the limelight due to three assists and one goal, it was the Frenchman who kept the ball ticking and even scored a goal.
In 17 overall appearances for the U23s in the 2020-21 season, Mejbri has already scored four goals and made seven assists. His end product on top of superior technical ability pits him above the rest of the competition. Both Amad and Mejbri performed in a superior level than the rest of the squad and looked ready to step onto the big stage.
1. Next stage in development
Make no mistake, Hannibal Mejbri still has a ton of potential to fulfill. He has shown a sneak peek into what he is truly capable of, however, in order to unlock his latent potential and grow into a star of tomorrow, Mejbri needs to play at the highest level, like Mason Greenwood or Phil Foden of Manchester City.
Instead of a loan move, it would suit the youngster more if he is introduced to the senior setup, like Greenwood. Playing directly under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would work wonders for him, considering the Norwegian’s work with players like McTominay, Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams. He can be utilized in the upcoming UEFA Europa League matches as a youth player addition as well.