Southampton have confirmed the signing of young fullback Thierry Small from Everton. The 17-year-old has been linked with the Saints in recent weeks and has now officially joined the side. Small reportedly chose Southampton over other Premier League sides due to the promise of action with the Saints first team.
Rejecting a professional contract from Everton, Small terminated his two-year youth scholarship early and signed with Southampton on a free transfer. However, because of his status as a youth player, Everton will be due compensation from the Saints. Unless agreed upon by the two clubs, it will reportedly be up to a sports tribunal to decide.
Southampton Sign Everton Youth Star Thierry Small
A Highly Sought After Youth Star
The 17-year-old joined the Everton academy from West Bromwich Albion back in 2016. Since then, Small has developed into one of England’s most promising left-backs. Impressing in the last two seasons with the Toffees’ youth sides, Small made his debut for Everton’s senior team in the club’s fourth-round FA Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite this single appearance with the first-team and the offer of a professional contract, Everton failed to keep Small. According to the Liverpool Echo, the 17-year-old refused to return to train this summer. Instead, he signaled his intent to depart Everton, a move Small has now undertaken.
Southampton Continue First Team’s Youth Focus
First reported by the Secretscout, Small chose to sign with Southampton over the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Aston Villa amongst others. According to the report, Southampton convinced Small of the first-team path that the club planned for him. Potentially joining as the club’s second-choice left-back, Small will be given the opportunity to train and play early on for the Saints.
Thierry Small now joins a Southampton senior squad already full of youth. Representing the club’s fourth defensive signing of the summer, Small is the third to join from a club’s youth team. Small follows Dynel Simeu and Tino Livramento, both from Chelsea’s youth sides, in joining Southampton this summer.
The South Coast side may now have the best pair of teenage fullbacks in all of Europe. Pairing Livramento with Small, the Southampton backline could be set up for years to come.