Manchester United are going head-to-head with Arsenal over the potential transfer of Everton starlet Thierry Small, according to The Express.
The teenage full-back became the youngest ever player to represent Everton at senior level when he came off the bench in his side’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday, aged just 16 years and 157 days.
Small is ‘considered the best left-back in the country for his age’, The Express notes, but as yet he has been unconvinced by the contract offer Everton have put on the table, believing that his first team chances will be limited at Goodison Park due to the presence of Lucan Digne and Niels Nkounkou in the same position.
‘A three-year contract has been on the table for well over a year,’ the outlet reports.
‘However, Express Sport understands the player is reluctant to commit his long-term future to Everton given the lack of opportunities since his debut.
‘Since his first-team bow, Small has failed to make the first-team matchday squad while fellow debutant Tyler Onyango has been named on the bench as many as 10 times by Ancelotti.
‘The omissions have left Small concerned about his realistic prospects of breaking through at the club given the abundance of options at left-back.
‘Carlo Ancelotti has even opted to change shape and bring in Alex Iwobi and Ben Godfrey as cover, ahead of handing Nkounkou and Small minutes.’
The Express then goes on to claim that the youngster has been flirting with Bayern Munich, who of course brought on a similar young talent in Alphonso Davies, but new Brexit regulations now prohibit the transfer of Under-18s into Europe.
‘Small will enter the final year of his scholarship next season, meaning Everton would still be entitled to demand a fee for one of Europe’s hottest young commodities, in the region of £1million.
Given that Small’s reason for moving is to secure first team football, United would have to persuade him that he would be able to secure an immediate loan move to a club in one of Europe’s top leagues. It would certainly be jumping from the frying pan to the fire in terms of pecking orders if he were to find himself at Old Trafford, where Luke Shaw and Alex Telles would surely prove to be very hard to dislodge in the left-back position.