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‘We’ve spoken with him’: £14m man dropped from squad weeks after Man United exit

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Manchester United loanee Hannibal Mejbri is already being left out of the Sevilla squad only a fortnight after leaving the Premier League giants. 

The explanation put forward by Sevilla coach Quique Sanchez Flores, explaining his decision to drop the January signing from his matchday roster, is that Hannibal Mejbri will benefit from some time out of the spotlight. 

The Manchester United-owned midfielder certainly raised eyebrows on his La Liga debut last time out, coming off the bench and wasting no time in ‘moaning’ at his team-mates during a 5-1 hammering by title challengers Girona. 

Adria Pedrosa, the young left-back, appeared to receive the brunt of Hannibal’s criticism, the tenacious Tunisian seemingly as uncompromising with his words as he is with his tackling. 

As such, Hannibal will not be part of the Sevilla squad for Sunday’s trip to Osasuna, with Sanchez Flores demanding a very different approach from a man who has not exactly made a great first impression in Andalusia. 

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Sevilla drop Manchester United loanee

“After being with him, talking to him and having seen his first minutes in Girona, we are going to give him the necessary space to understand where he is, that he is at Sevilla and what it means,” explains the former Watford and Atletico Madrid coach (Diario de Sevilla). 

“He has to know where he is. We have spoken with him and we believe that he has to have some time to learn. We wanted to give him a space, time for him to see things from the outside.

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“And then he will return to the squad.”

Sevilla have the option to turn Hannibal’s loan into a permanent transfer to the tune of £14 in the summer. It goes without saying, however, that his brief cameo at Girona – booked inside a minute and perhaps fortunate to avoid a second yellow – will not have done his chances of a full-time stay in Spain much good.

“In the end, (the new signings) are kids who have suddenly landed in a huge club like Sevilla in circumstances of maximum demand,” Sanchez Flores adds.

“Let’s see if the boy applies himself. I think that, in the end, he will understand perfectly what we want.” 

‘The last thing you need’

La Liga expert Terry Gibson, speaking on El Tel and Jon’s La Liga Weekly podcast, certainly feels that Hannibal has a lot to learn, not only with regards to his attitude but also his positional sense and decision making. 

Then again, that is what he is at Sevilla to do. To learn.

“Moaning at his team-mates, he was literally bullying (Adria) Pedrosa at left-back!” Gibson, a Manchester United forward in the 1980s, explains.

“Hannibal came on on the left side of midfield and went roaming all over the pitch. You have to admire him for wanting to get on the ball, but his positional play was all over the gaffe. You’re looking at thinking ‘(Sevilla) have lost the ball now and he’s on the right wing!’.

“He’s got booked in the first minute and I was thinking he was going to be sent off. He didn’t, but every time you saw him he was moaning at a team-mate and that’s the last thing they need right now.

“Some young player who couldn’t get a game for Man United coming into Sevilla… Sometimes it’s tough and the last thing you need is a new team-mate jumping on your back and pointing out every mistake you make.”

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