90min
Manchester United

Hannibal Mejbri: Things to know about exciting young Frenchman

Krishan Davis
Tom Gott
Hannibal is a regular for United's Under-23s
Hannibal is a regular for United's Under-23s / Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images
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Having joined Manchester United's academy from Monaco in 2019, Hannibal Mejbri has come on leaps and bounds with the club.

The 18-year-old joined for a cool £9m, but he has already set about repaying that substantial fee with the Red Devils' Under-23s.

The French teenager has played regularly, contributing plenty of goals and assists - including a lovely team goal against Blackburn.

That form has earned him a promotion to the United first team, and signed a long-term deal with the club on Monday.

As the floppy-haired youngster continues to impress, here are seven things to know about Hannibal.


1. Tracked since he was 9 years old

Mejbri has been on many clubs' radars for a while
Mejbri has been on many clubs' radars for a while / VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

All this attention won't have come as a real surprise to Hannibal, who has been in the limelight ever since he was nine years old. Nine.

Speaking to AFP (via ​RTL), his father, Lofti, confessed that agents and scouts have been chasing his son for years, insisting that he always fought off their advances to try and protect him.

Thanks to that guidance, Hannibal has managed to grow on his own, and it led him to the doors of Old Trafford.


2. His dad wanted him to become a doctor

Hannibal's father has always been very involved in his career, in an attempt to prove to his son that there is life outside of football.

Lotfi told ​Le Parisien that studies were always more important for the young midfielder, who could have gone on to become a doctor or a lawyer if football didn't work out for him.

Intelligence has always been a key part of Hannibal's life, and that is clear in the way he plays.


3. Passing is his forte

Hannibal has excellent vision
Hannibal has excellent vision / Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Hannibal loves to use his mind to play football. As a creative midfielder, passing is his forte, and he boasts vision far beyond his years.

Regarded as a real technician, he is a regular set-piece taker for his side and he is often capable of picking out a pass which most players around him can't see. His decision-making is excellent, and he rarely gets flustered in possession.

Hannibal fits into the mould of a modern creative midfielder - someone who loves dropping deep to pick up the ball, before turning and moving his side up the field.


4. Not known for his defending

Hannibal puts in a tackle against Spurs
Hannibal puts in a tackle against Spurs / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Unfortunately, Hannibal's desire to drop deep can often prove detrimental to his side. He often gets exposed on the defensive side of things.

He isn't exactly blessed with the best physicality and can get bullied quite easily by bigger attackers - something which he could certainly struggle with in the Premier League.

His teammates can leave the creating to him, but they will need to support him massively when he is asked to defend.​


5. He once snubbed a big-money move to Liverpool

Hannibal could have joined Liverpool
Hannibal could have joined Liverpool / Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

​United fans love seeing their club pick up an exciting youngster, but they love it even more when said youngster snubs moves to some of their direct rivals.

Back with Hannibal's father again, he told ​Le Parisien that they have already rejected a huge offer to move to ​Liverpool, while ​Manchester City and ​Arsenal have both failed in bids for the young midfielder.

He added that the Gunners even took him on trial, but they ultimately decided against pursuing a move - could they live to regret that?


6. Youth international

Hannibal has represented France at Under-16 and Under-17 level, with 15 youth caps to his name already.

It is surely only a matter of time before thee Under-18s and Under-21s come calling.


7. United want to protect him

Mejbri's boss fears he's going to get seriously injured
Mejbri's boss fears he's going to get seriously injured / Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Manchester United Under-23s boss Neil Wood has called for greater protection for Hannibal from referees, with the youngster often being kicked off the park.

Wood revealed to the MEN Hannibal had played with a broken nose earlier this season, and fears he could suffer a more serious injury.

“I think Hannibal has lots of quality and the frustrating point for him is that there must be about 15 fouls on him per game,” he said.

“And at some point if it’s not stopped, or if the referee is not protecting him, he’s going to get his leg broken. That’s what I fear for him."


8. Fellow French wonderkid convinced him to move

United have been busy snapping up some of Europe's best young talents in recent times, such as their acquisition of Frenchman Noam Emeran in February 2019. He may have not made an impact at Old Trafford just yet, but he has been putting in work behind the scenes.

After signing for United, Hannibal spoke to ​Le Parisien about why opted to make the move to Old Trafford, and he was quick to credit Emeran for speaking so highly of the club.

The pair certainly appear to have a close bond, and fans will be hoping to see them play a big part in United's future.


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