Manchester United were desperate to sign Jack Grealish in the summer, and remain keen to this day. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a player in his ranks that already looks like their very own version of the Aston Villa captain.
United may save themselves millions in the transfer market if they look a little closer to home.
Aston Villa star Grealish remains a top target of Solskjaer’s, who is infatuated by his guile and skill, as well as his ability to lead.
The 25-year-old has been the captain of his boyhood club for over three years now and has led them to promotion to the Premier League, survival in the top tier and now the club are flourishing.
He is now an England international and has fans from every corner of the country drooling over his performances.
What it has also led to is a huge increase in fouls suffered.
Last season, Grealish became the most fouled player in the history of the Premier League in one year after suffering 140 fouls.
It led to Villa demanding for more protection over the winger but Grealish is still often in the wars.
United have their own version of a player like this in Hannibal Mejbri – who is currently thriving for the club’s academy.
The Red Devils’ Under-23 boss Neil Cox even revealed that the Frenchman played on with a broken nose earlier in the season after suffering “15 fouls a match”.
“I think Hannibal has lots of quality and the frustrating point for him is that there must be about 15 fouls on him per game,” he said.
“And at some point if it’s not stopped, or if the referee is not protecting him, he’s going to get his leg broken. That’s what I fear for him.
“He loves getting on the ball, he loves creating and teams love to hack him down as much as they can. He’s doing really well.
“He’s been outstanding for the last couple of games. He was outstanding against Liverpool and I thought he was excellent again [against Blackburn].
“I think what a lot of people don’t realise about Hannibal is that they see him getting fouled, they hear the screams every now and then but he’s a tough cookie.
“The Accrington game the lad broke his nose in the first 10 minutes and he played the whole game with two stents up his nose, there’s not many players who would do that. He’s a lot tougher than he’s given credit for.
“I think he’s the type that he wants the ball all the time, he’s not going to shy away from it and that’s what we want, you don’t want your top players being worried, he just needs a bit of protection or it could result in him being badly injured.”