Everton’s U23 manager David Unsworth is confident of keeping hold of Thierry Small despite interest from Arsenal and Juventus.
David Unsworth seems to have poured cold water over Arsenal’s hopes of securing the services of Thierry Small. Speaking to LiverpooolECHO, the Everton U23 manager has insinuated that he is confident the youngster could become a Premier League player with the Toffees, despite interest from across Europe.
“The one thing that we can give Thierry is a clear pathway. He only has to look at Niels Nkounkou. He spent a week with the u-23s [after signing in the summer] and then he was in the first-team squad. There’s always a clear pathway at Everton for all the youngsters so he’s in no better place to have a career as a Premier League footballer.”, Unsworth told Echo.
Currently a part of Everton’s U18 side, Small, who is only 16, was recently drafted into the first-team training this month. It appears the Toffees are keen on grooming him as a potential alternative for Lucas Digne. The Frenchman’s ankle injury at the end of November has already made things for difficult for Carlo Ancelotti, of late.
The Italian mastermind has had to use Alex Iwobi as a wing-back at times while new signing Ben Godfrey has played at left-back in the recent game. So it comes across as a very little as to why Everton have appeared keen on giving Small a more prominent role in their plans.
During the interview, Unsworth even praised the 16 year old for his quality and talent, in a way justifying the club’s decision. “Thierry is a fantastic boy. He’s been in the academy system a while and is an attacking left-back with great pace and power. He’s been with us for probably about a month or so now, training with the u-23s, and we felt [Blackburn] was the right night to give him a debut.”, he added.
It is reflective of why Arsenal are so keen on securing the services of Small as the Gunners prepare for life without Sead Kolasinac. Mikel Arteta has previously shown the desire the offload unwanted players before, meaning it won’t be surprising to see the Bosnian international departing the club in the upcoming January transfer window – effectively paving the way for Small to potentially make an impact at Emirates.
Despite their fair share of consistencies, Arsenal have been an exciting destination for young players and the club does deserve credit for nurturing homegrown talents like Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah. But unfortunately for them, it remains unlikely that Small would want to jump ship, especially given the fact that he could be given the opportunity to earn a prominent role in the team should he continue to impress in the youth competitions this season.