MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal are hoping to pinch Everton starlet Thierry Small with the 16-year-old yet to sign professional terms at Goodison Park.
The teenage sensation was promoted to the Under-23s side at the back end of last year and youth boss David Unsworth backed him to become a first-team regular on Merseyside.Thierry Small could snub Everton for a move elsewhere[/caption]
Small became Everton’s youngest player ever in January when he came on in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Sheffield United aged 16 years and 157 days.
He is considered the best left-back in the country for his age group and his lightning runs down the wing have even drawn comparisons with Bayern Munich‘s Canadian star Alphonso Davies.
SunSport understands The Toffees have offered the starlet a three-year professional contract but Small has yet to make a concrete decision on his future.
Talks are set to continue this month with the star eager to play football.
Next season will be the final year of his scholarship terms and Everton could still recoup a transfer fee of around £400,000 if Small leaves before the end of his training contract.
Small is wary about a lack of opportunities since his debut and limited time training with Carlo Ancelotti‘s first team.
Everton are understood to be desperate to hang onto the highly rated youngster.
But first choice Lucas Digne and back-up Niels Nkounkou, 20, are ahead of Small in the pecking order.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Most read in Football
Ancelotti has even preferred to re-jig his side and use Ben Godfrey and Alex Iwobi out wide rather than blooding the youngsters
United and Arsenal are both monitoring his progress but could miss out with Small’s focus firmly on breaking into men’s football.
Bayern were keen to add Small to the list of young British talent, including England stars Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho, that have moved to the Bundesliga but any hopes of a transfer abroad have been scuppered by Brexit.
Rules now ban 16-18-year-olds from moving into Europe.
Prem sides Brighton and Leeds are both understood to be prepared to offer Small a more direct path into a top flight first team.
And Championship high flyers Brentford are also keen on bringing Everton’s Under-16 Player of the Year from last season into the fold.
Small’s uncle Bryan played for Aston Villa in the Prem and the youngster started out at West Brom.
He moved to Everton’s academy set-up aged 11 and already has bagged a sponsorship deal with Puma.
Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds