Young Everton left-back Thierry Small hasn’t returned to pre-season training with the club as he tries to secure a transfer, with Arsenal interested.

Thierry Small with Everton (Photo via Small on Instagram)
Thierry Small with Everton (Photo via Small on Instagram)

The Athletic report that talented 16-year-old left-back Thierry Small didn’t return to pre-season training on July 5th as expected, remaining absent for the full first week under Rafa Benitez.

Everton are trying to convince Small to sign a professional contract with the club before his scholarship terms expire in 2022, but he wants to leave, believing he has no genuine prospect of first-team football.

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing the teenager, who has also recently changed his agent. He remains absent from training with Everton, instead holding one-on-one sessions with a private coach.

Reports have linked Arsenal with Small since last year, with the Daily Mail claiming the Gunners had asked to be kept informed of any developments at the time.

The issue right now is that there’s not really an opening for Small in the first team immediately. Kieran Tierney has just extended his contract, Nuno Tavares has joined on a long-term deal, so even Sead Kolasinac’s likely departure leaves things busy at left-back.

Small could probably get plenty of games with the Arsenal u23s, where competition in the position isn’t quite so strong. By extension, he could soon become the third-choice option for the senior side.

But that might be a tough sell when Small arguably already holds that role with Everton, and he’s pushing to leave anyway.