Ronaldo backed for successful second Man Utd spell by Bale
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On his day, Paul Pogba is without doubt one of the finest midfielders in the World – fortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this new season, every day has been Pogba’s day. The former Juventus midfielder already has seven assists in four appearances for United. He looks more comfortable and assured, whether it is on the left-hand side of United’s front four as he was in the opening two games, or within United’s holding midfield pivot.
This appears to be the very player who has terrorised opposition teams with France and with Juventus, but for how much longer will he be controlling games for United?
With his contract expiring on June 30th 2020, the World Cup winner’s future is up in the air.
United are activating a charm offensive to keep the midfield general at the club, but any potential deal would likely require more intense and frustrating negotiations with his agent Mino Raiola.
However, the more eagle-eyed and social media savvy United fans may have come across the player who could very well be a perfect replacement for Pogba.
Hannibal Mejbri the 18-year-old midfielder, who has currently put the club on red alert with his performances for the U23 side, continues to develop and improve.
Red Devils’ fans were treated to a glimpse of the United U23s midfielder last season, when he was given his first senior appearance against Wolves.
They may have also seen him turn £54million midfielder Fred inside out before plonking the Brazilian onto his backside when training with the first team.
But, the precocious youngster could very well be the long term answer to Pogba’s departure, if the 28-year-old does leave as a free agent.
The potential quality and technique of the youngster is more than evident. His performances in central midfield earned him the United U23s player of the season.
He plays with a natural fire and aggression in his belly, enabling him to become one of the key players in the United development side, despite being up to five years younger than his teammates.
Unfortunately, as is to be expected with a player of his youth and playing style, he can overstep the mark between aggression and carelessness.
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He missed the first two matches of the Premier League 2 season due to suspensions carried over from last season.
However, he is being tempered and moulded to become one of the team’s biggest leaders.
United academy manager Neil Wood gave him the captain’s armband and he has reacted to the added responsibilities and pressures well.
The way in which he calmed his team mates down after being provoked in the Manchester Academy derby in the end of August showed he is turning a corner quickly.
When young United winger Dillon Hoogewerf put the academy side within one goal of a comeback, Manchester City’s youngsters proceeded to prevent any United player from getting the ball.
A pitch foray developed in the middle, but Hannibal was the one reining in his teammates and focusing their attention to the match.
United lost the match 4-2 in the end, but Wood was impressed with the youngster’s conduct.
“He was the calm one today,” Wood said to The Athletic following the defeat.
“I think it’s another step in his development. He’s a good player — we gave him the captain’s armband — and it was the chance for him to lead by example.
“He’s got to work throughout the whole game and show the quality that he’s got and he did that at times.” United have also began training the Tunisian in different positions to develop his game to another level.
He has performed admirably as a No.10 midfielder just behind the striker, as well as a more deeper lying, box-to-box midfielder.
Hannibal also cited the academy coaches have also moved him out to the wider areas to see how he can affect the attack from the flanks.
His understanding and versatility will enhance his game to another level.
All being said, he would have quite the shoes to fill if Pogba was to leave Old Trafford next season, United want to open talks over a new contract this season, and it has been reported by The Athletic Pogba may even change his mind.
Whatever happens with the Frenchman, United certainly have another prodigy within their ranks.
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