Everton are at risk of losing their teenage left-back Thierry Small this summer, as reported by The Express.
What is the latest transfer news involving Small?
The 16-year-old is currently attracting interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, with Brighton and Brentford also tracking the defender’s situation.
Small is rated as one of the most exciting youngsters at Goodison and the country’s best left-back in his age group, but he’s eager to find first-team football and is holding out on signing a new contract.
That has opened the door to a potential departure.
How much is Small worth and what is his contract situation?
The Toffees offered Small a three-year contract over a year ago but he is yet to sign on the dotted line. He is set to enter the final year of his scholarship at the club next season.
What are Small’s stats this season?
Small is believed to be unhappy at his lack of first-team opportunities this term. He made his senior debut back in January, coming on for the last five minutes in the team’s 3-0 FA Cup victory against Sheffield Wednesday.
In doing so, he became the club’s youngest ever player, having only turned 16 last August.
However, he has failed to make the squad again since, suggesting that he remains some way down the pecking order for now.
Instead, he has featured for the Under 18s and Under 23s, scoring six goals across 20 appearances for the two youth teams.
What has Ancelotti said about Small?
Small was drafted into first-team training when Lucas Digne suffered an ankle injury last year.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was impressed by Small right away, and praised the talented defender when speaking to The Guardian in December.
Ancelotti said of Small: “He is really, really young. He is like a kid, he is only 16 years old, but he has quality and physicality to play with the first team.
“He is one of our best players in the academy, so I was pleased to bring him to train with us. I think for what he is doing it was good for him, too.”
Another Antonee Robinson?
In 2019, Everton sold their promising left-back Antonee Robinson to Wigan. A matter of months later, he was linked with a move to AC Milan, before eventually moving to play in the Premier League with Fulham last summer.
He has also managed 23 key passes – a number only bettered by three Everton players – and has completed 38 of the 46 tackles that he has attempted.
The Merseyside club could have done with him in their ranks when Digne missed seven matches through injury earlier this season.
If they do bid farewell to Small, they could be repeating the same mistake that they made with Robinson.
Whilst Small may not be ready for first-team action yet, the club would be better off keeping him and allowing him to learn from the likes of Digne, rather than letting him go and running the risk of watching him flourish elsewhere in the years to come.