Thierry Small has opted to leave Everton to join Southampton rather than Arsenal or any of the other sides interested in him.

Thierry Small via Southampton
Thierry Small via Southampton

The 17-year-old left-back, who was Everton’s youngest player, had clubs like Arsenal, Juventus and Bayern Munich chasing his signature but, in the end, he opted for Southampton. Given the success they’ve had with youngsters over recent years, it’s hard to blame him.

Wolfsburg, Valencia, Monaco, and Benfica were also interested in singing Small but the player was interested in the club that could give him the clearest pathway to the first-team. Small rejected a three-year deal from Everton and would have made a good addition to the Arsenal academy at this point. That is clearly not what Small wanted, however, with the path to the Arsenal first team not as clear as it is elsewhere.

Small made his debut for Everton in the FA Cup when he got five minutes against Sheffield Wednesday in January. He didn’t receive any more first-team minutes and has now signed a three-year deal with Southampton.

Arsenal, of course, have Kieran Tierney and Nuno Tavares at the club but it was rumoured Small could be Arsenal-bound when he skipped training with Everton last month. Arsenal had actually been tracking the teenager from at least November, if not earlier.

No doubt this won’t be the last we hear of Small, who seems to be an exciting prospect.