Leicester: Hannibal Mejbri would help fill Maddison void
Hannibal Mejbri impressed in the Championship for Birmingham City last season and may be loaned out once again by Manchester United
Leicester City’s squad is undoubtedly weaker after losing Harvey Barnes and James Maddison in recent weeks, but they could be about to bring in a promising replacement for the latter in Manchester United youngster Hannibal Mejbri.
How many games has Hannibal Mejbri played for Man Utd?
Mejbri joined United in 2019 as part of a €5m (£4.3m) agreement with Monaco in what was considered a big coup for the Red Devils at the time, given he was also on the radar of fellow European giants Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
The now-20-year-old has played just three times for United, however, with each of those appearances coming in the Premier League.
The Tunisia international was given a chance to showcase his qualities on loan with Championship side Birmingham City last season, and it may well be that he heads back to England’s second tier this coming campaign.
Turkish outlet Noussour reports that United are considering loaning Mejbri out once again, and three teams – Leicester, Luton Town and an unnamed club – have all expressed an interest.
Mejbri wants to join a team where he knows he will be given minutes – something Leicester can offer in the second tier – and he will now take some time to make a decision on his future.
How good is Hannibal Mejbri?
First and foremost, Mejbri’s midfield versatility would come in handy for manager Enzo Maresca should he join Leicester, as the former France youth international effectively played in four different positions for Birmingham last season, as per WhoScored.
It is as a pure central midfielder that Mejbri appeared most frequently last season, and he chipped in with five assists – only Juninho Bacuna (six) set up more among Birmingham players – on top of the solitary goal he scored in a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Despite playing predominantly through the middle, Mejbri registered 5.37 crosses per 90 minutes, as per FBref, which was the fourth most of any Birmingham player.
Maddison, who also played predominantly through the middle for Leicester but also out wide, averaged 4.46 crosses per 90 – the most of any City regular.
Both men also regularly took corners (2.55 per 90 for Mejbri, 2.50 for Maddison) and they both had most of their touches in the middle third of the field (22.5 v 23.4 per 90 respectively).
Neither was afraid to get stuck in, either, each picking up an identical number of yellow cards (10).
Mejbri is clearly not as talented as Maddison, who cost Tottenham Hotspur £40m this summer, but he is six years younger and will no doubt add more goals to his game with age.
The Tunisian – who is on wages of just £3.5k-per-week at Old Trafford, according to Capology – also has experience of playing Championship football and more than showed last season that he is good enough to play for a team challenging near the top end of the division.
Described as “unplayable” by Birmingham manager John Eustace, Hannibal could give Leicester the midfield bite they require as they seek an immediate return to the Premier League.