Two of Manchester United’s top academy prospects, Hannibal Mejbri and Anthony Elanga, have signed “long-term” contracts this week.
United have invested heavily in their academy in recent seasons, with new football director John Murtough playing a big role in its development.
With United linked with a number of right wingers in the last couple of seasons, Elanga could be the answer following some impressive performances for the Under-23s.
The 18-year-old won the Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year award last season and caught Gary Neville’s eye in a 6-0 win over Salford City.
Neville – who was co-commentating on Salford’s website – labelled Elanga a “nightmare to play against” and likened him to Thierry Henry after his goal.
Mejbri – signed in 2019 from Monaco for around £10million – is even more highly valued by the Manchester United bosses.
A source told The Athletic after he signed for United the extent to which he was showcasing his talent in training
“He actually takes the p*** sometimes against players a couple of years older than him,” said a club source. “He’ll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way.”
It was only injury which delayed Mejbri’s first-team promotion along with Shola Shoretire last month.
“Hannibal is injured,” Solskjaer said. ”Unfortunately, he got injured in the reserves so he’ll be out for a month.
“So he was just coming into our squad and, unfortunately for him, he is out.
“The young kids, we’ve moved Shola up with us, Hannibal will join us and we’ll keep them with us for a while.
“It’s the next step in their development, we’ve got to take the hit that when they play for the reserves they have to travel by themselves. It’s a nice step for them, they’ve done really well.”
Along with Mejbri and Elanga’s promotion, Solskjaer says he is looking forward to welcoming Diogo Dalot back into the fold next season, following a successful loan with AC Milan.
“The plan was always for Diogo this season… well, the main thing for Diogo was to be fit,” Solskjaer said.
“He never managed to be fit for a long spell when he was here because of injuries and now he’s kept fit all season and been available for them.
“He’s playing at a big club, big expectations, great history of the club. It’s been a good year for him.
“So, of course, I’ve been very pleased with his development this season, he’s our player and I’m looking forward to having him back.”
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