Manchester United Handed French Ace First Professional Contract Last Month: Scouting Hannibal Mejbri

LEIGH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Hannibal Mejbri of Manchester United on the ball during the Premier League 2 match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Leigh Sports Village on January 10, 2020 in Leigh, England. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

According to a recent report by the Evening Standard, European giants Manchester United secured the £9m summer signing of Hannibal Mejbri, solely because the youngster is tipped to follow in the footsteps of French sensation Kylian Mbappe. The report suggests that Ed Woodward went and successfully sealed his move to the Premier League last summer, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to attempt to integrate youth into the side. The club had also handed Mejbri his first professional contract last month.

It has been suggested that United’s business strategy includes signing the best young talent from all over the world, to save on a lot of money years down the line. This could also be perceived as the Red Devils acknowledging the fact that they don’t have the ability to sign players at the top of the European game now. With the cost for player purchases growing at an alarming rate after every season, United’s novel approach could have a positive effect.

Who Is Hannibal Mejbri?

The 17-year-old was born in the French town of Ivry-sur-Seine, in the outskirts of Paris. Having started his youth career with some of the French capital city’s smaller clubs like Paris FC and Boulogne-Billancourt FC, the youngster eventually found his way to the Monaco academy in the summer of 2017.

Despite being very young, the Frenchman had an immediate impact at Monaco, and Manchester United were rather quick to notice that and begin their scouting.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United applauds fans after the Carabao Cup Semi Final match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on January 29, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Having watched him for a while, the youngster was signed up by Ed Woodward just before the start of the current season, in a £9m deal – an exorbitant amount of money to spend on an unproven 17-year-old. Although some eyebrows were initially raised to question the move itself, it’s safe to say that this is one deal where the famous Ed Woodward had done his homework.

Although the youngster still plies his trade for the Manchester United U18 side, his recent displays have earned massive plaudits from various levels within the club. The youngster is a central midfielder by trade but is more than comfortable driving forward with the ball at his feet. A sharp dribbler, the Frenchman is probably one of the best passers from midfield in the entire U18 division, and his nine league fixtures this season have yielded a goal and three assists.

Why Manchester United Must Nurture Hannibal Mejbri?

Manchester United have previously experienced the pain of letting a player leave too early, firsthand. Paul Pogba was allowed to join Juventus on a free transfer before the Red Devils paid over £100m for his signature a few years later. Hannibal’s performances in the Premier League U18 division have been turning heads and the fact that he’s still only 17 means that Manchester United could well have a real gem on their hands.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.