Arsenal and Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Everton prodigy Thierry Small in the summer transfer window.
According to an exclusive report by Daily Express, Arsenal and Manchester United are keen on securing the services of Thierry Small in the summer transfer window. The 16-year-old prodigious English defender could depart Everton due to a lack of first-team opportunities, with Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion also interested in him.
Thierry Small joined the Everton academy in 2016 and has since made rapid progress within the youth setup before finally making grade in the first-team squad earlier this year. Coming off the bench in an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday, the teenage prodigy became the youngest player in Everton history at the age of 16 years and 176 days.
However, Small’s future at Goodison Park is uncertain, as he is seeking immediate opportunities in the first-team setup, which are not forthcoming due to the presence of Lucas Digne. This has put several clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester United, on red alert, even though Everton had been confident of keeping hold of the player.
The interest from Arsenal could be stemming from the fact that Kieran Tierney has no natural backup within the squad following Sead Kolasinac’s departure on loan in January. Having had to deploy Cedric Soares as a makeshift left-back at times, Mikel Arteta would be in better stead if he managed to land an out-and-out left-back this summer.
To that end, the pursuit of Small makes sense for Arsenal, who could install the prodigious English defender in the first-team squad right away, in theory. As for Manchester United, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to give Small a run, considering Luke Shaw has been enjoying the best season of his career while Alex Telles is his deputy.
With Brandon Williams struggling for minutes, it is hard to see how Small would fit in the first-team squad. Instead, the 16-year-old could be yet another recruitment for either of the under-18 or under-23 side, as someone like Fabio Blanco and several other youth targets might be.
Apart from Arsenal and Manchester United, the likes of Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion are also in pursuit of Small, who has drawn comparisons with Alphonso Davies and is considered the best left-back in the country for his age. With Everton being unable to tie Small to his first professional deal, a summer exit does appear to be likely.
However, the report adds that Small is prepared to snub Arsenal and Manchester United in his bid to secure first-team football at club level next season. What now remains to be seen is if the two Premier League heavyweights can turn his head or if the English whizkid remains intent on his decision.