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Manchester United’s £14m loanee could be handed a new striker role, manager suggests

As a disappointing loan spell at Manchester United comes to a close, one of the many players facing an uncertain future at the Premier League giants would still be given an unexpected opportunity in an unexpected role.

Five appearances. 95 minutes. Zero goals, zero assists.

The numbers tell their own story about Hannibal Mejbri’s time at Sevilla. No wonder the Spanish press are rubbishing Manchester United’s hopes of making a £14million sale on the Tunisian international, with a permanent move to the La Liga outfit deemed “impossible” at this stage.

But an injury to one of Sevilla’s breakaway talents – striker Isaac Romero – appears to have opened a window of opportunity for Hannibal to make his mark late on, albeit in a very different position to the one he was meant to occupy when it moves. in Andalusia in January.

Manchester United's Hannibal Mejbri celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and...
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Manchester United loanee could play a new role

“Isaac is an important loss. It runs for everyone and offers a lot. We have to think carefully to hide a loss that will be important,” sighs Sevilla coach Quique Sanchez Flores, speaking to Diario de Sevilla.

Romero, all movement and intensity, has played mostly as a center forward since forcing his way into the first team. Albeit one who likes to throw himself all over the front line, drifting wide and running in behind.

Now, Hannibal It has he has had some experience of playing outside of his usual place in central midfield. He started on the right against Galatasaray in the Champions League group stage and was introduced on the left as a late substitute against Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

But in the middle, like a number nine? This is a very different mission. It’s one he completed at academy level for United, albeit not spectacularly.

“There are a lot of possibilities to cover that space that Isaac has. (The question is) whether we shoot from the attack or from the middle. There are more options,” added the former Watford boss when pressed on whether Hannibal or tight end Joan Jordan could be tasked with replacing Romero.

“There are midfielders who are more of a playmaker and there are strikers who can drop down to fill that space. There are others who are stepping up and we must reiterate our faith in them.”

Hannibal Mejbri could be hit with Sevilla

Hannibal definitely feels like a better stylistic match than Jordan. The former Birmingham City loanee possesses the tenacity and vitality that have made Romero such a success this season. And while he wasn’t a regular goalscorer, long-range lightning Hannibal found the net for Brighton in September – his first so far. no more Man United’s goal – also speaks to the 21-year-old’s French-born ball-striking talents.

However, with Youssef En-Nesyri enjoying another impressive campaign, with Dodi Lukebakio at the disposal of Sanchez Flores, Hannibal is unlikely to be Sevilla’s first port of call as they prepare for life without Isaac Romero .

But it’s good to know that despite a loan spell that certainly didn’t go to plan, Sanchez Flores still has a place for the Man United-owned midfielder in mind.

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