Everton starlet Thierry Small joins Southampton despite Arsenal, Bayern and Juventus interest

Everton’s youngest ever player, Thierry Small, quits to join Southampton despite interest from Arsenal, Bayern and Juventus after turning down his first pro contract… with 17-year-old eyeing first-team football amid concerns over chances at Goodison

  • Thierry Small made his Everton first team debut last January in the FA Cup
  • Small became the club’s youngest ever player at just  16 years and 176 days
  • Everton offered the 17-year-old his first professional contract but he declined
  • Bayern Munich, Juventus, Arsenal and Aston Villa were interested in Small
  • He will go into Southampton’s first-team squad after joining on a three-year deal

Southampton have confirmed the signing of highly-rated left-back Thierry Small.

The 17 year-old, a record-breaking teenager at Everton, has joined on a three-year deal and become Southampton’s sixth senior signing.

England under-19 defender Small will go straight into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first-team squad and provide cover for Romain Perraud, giving the Austrian options on both flanks after fellow full-back Tino Livramento also joined in the summer to compete with Kyle Walker-Peters.

Thierry Small was just 16 years and 176 days old on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday

Hasenhuttl said: ‘I am very pleased we have been able to bring in another talented young player, especially when there were again a number of clubs who were interested.

‘I think our philosophy of how we develop these young players and give them their opportunities has been an important factor in this, and we are looking forward to working with Thierry and helping him make the most of his potential.

We have already signed a player this summer with good experience at left-back in Romain Perraud, and Thierry’s arrival now gives us a very good balance and a strong additional option in that position, and this is encouraging that we now have this on both sides of our defence.’

Small was just 16 years and 176 days when he came on as a late substitute against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup last January, breaking the club record held by Jose Baxter.

He was offered a first professional contract but declined to sign it amid concerns about his pathway to the first team.

The 17-year-old failed to turn up to pre-season training to show his intent to leave the club

The 17-year-old failed to turn up to pre-season training to show his intent to leave the club

Small, who has attracted interest from Bayern Munich, Juventus, Arsenal and Aston Villa, had failed to turn up for pre-season training in a show of his intent and has now cancelled his scholarship contract.

Everton will, however, be due compensation from Southampton which is likely to be set by a tribunal.

Small said: ‘It’s an unbelievable feeling. A big moment for me and my family, especially to join such a family-orientated club. It’s an honour to be here and I can’t wait to get started.

‘It’s a real great honour to play here and play under Ralph and I’m grateful to be here.

‘The people when I came to visit the club, everyone was so friendly and so nice. It’s such a big place and a great city when I came to visit, and I thought this is the best place for me to develop as a player and reach new levels to my game.’

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