Manchester United’s young talent, Hannibal Mejbri, will not be joining the Tunisia team for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. This decision is part of a strategic move to facilitate a loan transfer in January.
The 20-year-old, who previously played for Monaco, has made an impression at Manchester United this season. Despite the team’s injury woes, he managed to accumulate five Premier League appearances and two in the Champions League.
Hannibal, a usual fixture in the Tunisia national team for the last two years and with 27 international caps to his name, was unexpectedly missing from the squad list released on Thursday.
Reports suggest that Hannibal himself chose to opt out of the national squad. This choice is understood to be a crucial step in his career development, as he seeks to gain more playing time and experience.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano has indicated that Hannibal’s focus is on securing a loan move as soon as the transfer window reopens, rather than participating in the national tournament.
While Hannibal has had limited opportunities under United’s coach Erik ten Hag, the imminent returns of players like Casemiro and Mason Mount are likely to further reduce his playing time.
In contrast, several clubs have shown interest in offering him a regular role. Among these are La Liga’s Sevilla, Ligue 1’s Lyon, currently facing relegation challenges, and Bundesliga’s Freiburg.
These clubs are keen to have Hannibal available throughout January and February, a requirement that would be difficult to meet if he participated in a potentially lengthy campaign at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Consequently, Hannibal has been excluded from Tunisia’s squad as he deliberates over his loan options and decides which team he will join for the latter half of the season.