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Manchester United transfer news: Inside Hannibal Mejbri’s Sevilla loan disaster

Hannibal Mejbri Manchester United Sevilla
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Hannibal Mejbri’s loan deal from Manchester United to Sevilla is going from bad to worse.

First, the 21-year-old was dropped from the squad due to alleged disciplinary issues and now come reports from Spain indicating that Sevilla have no intention of paying the €18 million required to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.

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Having made his debut for Quique Sanchez Flores’s side in LaLiga on January 21, a 5-1 defeat in which he played 28 minutes, Hannibal was nowhere to be found during Sevilla’s next match, in the Copa del Rey against Atletico Madrid.

It was reported at the time that Hannibal had engaged in a training-gound row with team-mate Mariano Diaz and, as a result, was dropped from the matchday squad for the Atletico defeat.

He has been publicly called out by his manager on several occasions, including ahead of the league game against Rayo Vallecano on February 5.

“I have tried to explain to him the situation we are in, which is similar to the club where he came from, where sacrifice is above talent,” Sanchez Flores told a press conference.

“We are not going anywhere with talent alone, we need organisation. I want desire to play. He has the conditions but he has to understand all this.”

Hannibal’s Sevilla career stalling

In total Hannibal has played only 36 minutes of LaLiga action, picking up two yellow cards and failing to convince the club thus far that his loan deal should be made permanent.

A report this week in Estadio Deportivo suggested that the Tunisia international had issues with “commitment and attitude”, and that is a key reason why his expected impact on the team has yet to materialise.

Sevilla were looking like bonafide relegation contenders until the start of this month but two wins in a row against Rayo and Atletico have helped ease the burden on Sanchez Flores.

It was hoped that the signings made by sporting director Victor Orta, once of Leeds, would give Sevilla the boost they needed in order to climb away from the bottom three.

Hannibal was supposed to be the flagship winter arrival but he hasn’t been anywhere near good enough and now looks set to return to Manchester United at the end of the season without a permanent deal in place.

The midfielder replaced fellow January loan arrival, Lucien Agoume, after his injury against Rayo, when he played the final eight minutes.

But when the Frenchman was ruled out of the following game against Atletico, it was Oliver Torres and not Hannibal who got the nod from the coach.

Spanish reports now claim that Hannibal is “practically ostracised” within the Sevilla squad and so it’s not expected that he will be a mainstay in the side throughout the rest of the season.

It represents a financial blow for United, who were hoping to bank €18m for the ex-Birmingham loanee, having seen their spending restricted in winter due to a need to stay within FFP guidelines.

Hannibal signed for Manchester United in 2019 as one of the most promising youth players in European football when the club paid a reported €5m fee, rising to €10m, to Monaco for his services.

He has only played 13 times for the United first team since then with his only regular season of senior football coming on loan at Birmingham in 2022-23.

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