Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed his intention to make promising teenager Hannibal Mejbri a regular part of the first-team squad in the second half of the season.
Hannibal joined United from Monaco in the summer of 2019 in a transfer worth up to €10m when he was just 16. His sizeable reputation has been growing ever since and a first-team debut came on the final day of last season against Wolves.
Still only 18 even now, Hannibal is yet to add to that sole United appearance but is already capped at senior international level by Tunisia and recently helped his country reach the final of the Arab Cup.
He has since returned to Manchester and trained under Rangnick for the first time, although will soon again be linking up with Tunisia, the country where his parents were born, almost immediately when he reports for duty for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Once Hannibal’s involvement in that tournament finishes – the final is scheduled for 6 February – Rangnick plans for the player to be regularly involved with United’s senior squad.
“Hannibal was here training for the first time since I arrived having just come back from the Arab Cup. Unfortunately for us and for him he will be missing out [with us] again in January because of the Africa Cup of Nations,” the coach said, via ManUtd.com.
“I watched the final before his substitution and I’m fully aware that we have another good, highly-talented player coming from our youth ranks and hopefully after the Africa Cup of Nations he can regularly train and be part of our group.”
Rangnick has long held a reputation as a coach famed for player development. He has already given Anthony Elanga a renewed first-team chance after the young Swede briefly flirted with a breakthrough at the end of last season and recently also handed senior United debuts to both Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage.