Hannibal Mejbri is “advancing” towards a loan switch to La Liga side Sevilla despite strong interest from Everton in the 20-year-old midfielder.
Mejbri – who turned down the opportunity to represent Tunisia at the African Cup of Nations in order to secure a loan deal this month – is reported to favour the offer from Spain over the one to remain in the North West of England.
He will follow in Anthony Martial’s footsteps after the Frenchman joined the La Liga side previously for an ill-advised loan spell.
David Ornstein (The Athletic) reveals this preference is shared by Manchester United who will likely demand a significant fee to make the loan move a permanent one, as well as a buy-back clause.
🚨 Sevilla advancing towards agreement to sign Hannibal Mejbri on loan from Man Utd. Everton still keen but as things stands #SevillaFC offer favoured by #MUFC & 20yo. Deal would likely include high option to turn permanent + buy-back clause @TheAthleticFC https://t.co/jekWmLz2fu
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 10, 2024
Nonetheless, Ornstein reveals Everton are still “keen” on the Tunisian with Sean Dyche reported to have made Mejbri his “number one priority” in January.
In fact, The Sun believe it is Everton who are leading the race for Mejbri with sources at Old Trafford contending the Merseyside club have moved to the front of the queue for Mejbri.
This assertion contradicts The Athletic’s update above, meaning we truly are in the full swing of transfer season now.
Speaking to The Sun, a source revealed:
“Everton want the player and Manchester United are happy for him to go out on loan. They’d prefer him to stay in the Premier League as it will provide a better barometer and benchmark for his abilities as a player.
“If he can go out on loan to Everton and make an impression, he could force his way into content at United. He’s highly thought of at United and by Ten Hag, but he will get more chances at Everton. Sean Dyche is a big fan, and he thinks the player can give them a different edge to their game. He’s become the number one January priority.”
A loan to Everton would arguably be a far better option for Mejbri than Sevilla; even if he, or United, do not appear to agree.
Under Dyche, Everton often play with a five-man midfield. Central midfield players are sometimes even deployed on the wings in games where the English manager seeks to make his side particularly hard to beat. The opportunities for minutes at Everton would be plentiful given Mejbri’s positional versatility.
Similarly, Dyche also places great emphasis on work rate and commitment, encouraging his players to exhibit tenacity and aggression on the pitch. These demands fit perfectly with Mejbri’s skillset, which combines hard running and technical ability with a strong edge to his game.
A six-month loan move to Merseyside, therefore, appears the perfect environment for Mejbri to continue his development away from Old Trafford, despite, unfortunately, all the signs pointing away from it happening.