Man Utd’s forgotten man Hannibal Mejbri giving Erik ten Hag a dilemma

Ten Hag delivers Man Utd team news ahead of Leeds clash

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Manchester United will have a major dilemma when Hannibal Mejbri returns from his loan at Birmingham in the summer. The 20-year-old has starred in the Championship this season, scoring his first senior goal on Friday night. 

Mejbri caught out West Brom goalkeeper David Button with a deceptive free-kick to bag the first strike of his career. He also laid on a goal for former Arsenal prospect Krystian Bielik in the 2-0 victory for John Eustace’s side. 

But afterwards, the fiery Tunisia international fired a not-so-subtle message to Erik ten Hag as he collected the Player of the Match award. Having conducted his post-match interview with Sky Sports, Mejbri hoped that Ten Hag had been watching his excellent performance. 

He said: “Am I expecting a text from [Ten Hag]? I just need to focus and stay focused. I’m sure he has Sky! But I just need to focus until the end of the season and we will see in the summer.”

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As the interview with Mejbri and Bielik concluded, Mejbri made another reference to a potentially-watching Ten Hag, adding: “Thank you. It is a nice trophy. Thank you very much. It was on Sky!”

A clearly confident Mejbri appears to believe that he belongs in the first team at United next season. But the Red Devils and Ten Hag face a major dilemma over the future of a player valued at £20m by his loan club’s manager. 

Asked if Birmingham can afford to sign Mejbri permanently, Eustace quipped: “Have you got about £20 million? Then we might be able to. He was fantastic, his energy, all-round performance was a different class. A 20-year-old boy, first loan you are going to get dips in form, tired legs, which I think we have seen this season.”

United must decide whether to keep Mejbri next season or send the former Monaco starlet on another loan. Should the youngster move temporarily again, the Old Trafford outfit might prefer that he remains in the Premier League. 

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Mejbri made his debut for United under Ralf Rangnick last season. But an aggressive performance in a 4-0 defeat by Liverpool prompted the caretaker boss to decide that he was not ready for first-team football at the club. Ten Hag agreed and loaned Mejbri out to Birmingham at the start of the season. 

But his performances for Birmingham have proved that he is now ready to play in the Premier League. With Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Fred, Scott McTominay, teenager Kobbie Mainoo and potentially Marcel Sabitzer in his way should the Austrian’s loan be made permanent, Mejbri might find regular football hard to come by. 

It is therefore likely that he will spend another year out on loan. But the Premier League seems the most possible destination for a player who continues to develop rapidly. 

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