Southampton beats Arsenal to sign versatile 17-year-old

Arsenal has missed out on the signing of Thierry Small, who has joined Southampton instead.

The 17-year-old is a product of the Everton academy and became the youngest ever player to play for them in a competitive game in January.

He was being watched by Arsenal and several other Premier League clubs who wanted to poach him from the Toffees.

After his first-team breakthrough, the Merseysiders attempted to tie his long-term future down with a new deal.

However, he turned it down as a path to the first team is blocked at the moment.

That decision opened the door for him to join another club, but Arsenal signed Nuno Tavares instead in a clear decision that meant they would send him to their youth team if he moved to the Emirates.

The youngster who can play as a left-back, centre-back and left-winger has now joined Southampton.

The Saints are assembling a youthful squad and they convinced him that he would be a first-team regular at Saint Marys, according to Sun Sports.

Small told the club website: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. A big moment for me and my family, especially to join such a family-orientated club. It’s an honour to be here and I can’t wait to get started.

“It’s a real great honour to play here and play under Ralph and I’m grateful to be here.

“The people when I came to visit the club, everyone was so friendly and so nice.

“It’s such a big place and a great city when I came to visit, and I thought this is the best place for me to develop as a player and reach new levels to my game.”

Tags Thierry Small


  1. Please nobody say there’s another example of a world class prospect “snubbing” us because we are now a smaller club than Southampton!
    Firstly its as written and the opposite – he can walk into the first team there, but not at other bigger clubs.
    Secondly he is rated yes but not a world beater., and who knows at 17. Most 17 year olds don’t make it and we can’t take all of them just in case they turn out well!
    Thirdly I dislike the way news articles (not JA) refer to every refusal as a “snub” – which is a very derogatory word used only to be divisive. If my offer to buy a car is refused for a better offer I don’t consider the seller has snubbed me, so why is this word used daily in football? Journos like to create bad feeling I guess.

  2. i would agree with you as the last couple of players that Arsenal have bought from Southampton have not fulfilled their potential – Walcott and Oxlade-chambers. Chambers seems to be, at best,a journeyman. But there in lays an Arsenal conundrum. Do you sign young players hoping they will develop further or put more effort into developing academy players in the hope that they will mature into fully fledged 1st team players or buy ‘off-the-shelf’ ready made foreign players to win you something. Who was it who said ‘you don’t win anything with kids’. At some point Arsenal are going to have to take a risk and bite the bullet otherwise they will be consigned to the middle tier of the premiership for a very long time

  3. Tavares is playing well, judging by the minutes he has played for Arsenal. What worries me is that apart from Gabriel, Holding and White, we dont have proper defenders who are confidently capable of defending. Whites showing against newly promoted Brenford does not fill me with optimism and that is why the loaning of Saliba was such a wrong decision, I hope we dont pass through the season to regret it. Saliba was one proper defender, but unfortunately due to MAs egoistic attitude the lad was not even given a proper chance to play for the Arsenal first team, so much for management vision and the process we are supposed to trust. Whilst other teams atleast give their youngsters a proper chance to prove themselves in the cup games, youngsters at Arsenal have to be on the right side of Arteta to get selected, otherwise you are shunned, prime example being Saliba and Guendouzi, talent being clearly there in the 2 playres but yet shunned due to the managers ego. Reality and truth bites hard and when someone tries to bring out the facts those people are branded as pessimists. Bringing out the real facts is only for the betterment and improvement of a team one so dearly loves, hiding the reality is detrimental, leads to downfall, being the laughing stock round the world and seeing a team once so great, so respected and so feared becoming the whipping boys of one and all. Something has got to change and change fast, either in team tactics, player motivation or whatever, the buck stops with MA, real fans cannot be silent bystanders and watch the club degrade, both in terms of winning matches and values, principles and style of positive fluid football for which it has stood strong and firm for decades.

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