Manchester United may already have the next Kylian Mbappe in their ranks – highly-rated young midfielder Hannibal Mejbri.
The Red Devils snapped up the 17-year-old for £4.2million rising to £8.4m from Monaco in a deal that went largely under the radar during the summer window.
But Mejbri has made sure everyone knows who he is at Carrington, with a training ground source telling The Athletic that the youngster is so good he “takes the p***” out of his team-mates with his ability.
“He is composed, can go past a player and break a line,” the source claimed. “He actually takes the p*** sometimes against players a couple of years older than him. He’ll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way.”
Mejbri has been compared to the likes of Mbappe – who’s career also began at Monaco – and fellow Man United team-mate Paul Pogba, with many at Old Trafford expecting big things from him in the future.
United academy head Nick Cox told the MEN: “His performances have been very good.
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“The first objective for any player that arrives from outside of the country is to settle and build relationships and acclimatise, in terms of where are you going to be living, what do you know about your environment.
“That’s really the only expectation we have on him at the moment in these early phases; it’s just to settle. And he’s doing that nicely. And then it’ll be about how do we help to nurture him to challenge him to get as close to the first-team as we possibly can?”
Head of first-team development at Man United Nicky Butt, meanwhile, has called for calm to allow the midfielder the time to develop and fulfill his huge potential.
“When you’re a young player and you get brought in for a relatively big fee from a foreign club, you’re going to have everybody watching you, and he’s aware of that,” said Butt.
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“He’s a very good player, talent-wise, or else we wouldn’t have brought him in, so that’s a given. But he is still only a baby, just six months out of school. He has still got a lot of growing to do.
“He is a good size vertically but he needs to fill out, get stronger, and he needs to learn certain parts of his game — like they all do. But we’re very confident in that he’s at a really good starting point.”