Southampton have confirmed the signing of highly-rated left-back Thierry Small. The 17 year-old, a record-breaking teenager penned a three year deal
England under-19 defender Small will go straight into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first-team squad and provide cover for Romain Perraud, giving the Austrian options on both flanks after fellow full-back Tino Livramento also joined in the summer to compete with Kyle Walker-Peters.
Hasenhuttl said: ‘I am very pleased we have been able to bring in another talented young player, especially when there were again a number of clubs who were interested.
‘I think our philosophy of how we develop these young players and give them their opportunities has been an important factor in this, and we are looking forward to working with Thierry and helping him make the most of his potential.
We have already signed a player this summer with good experience at left-back in Romain Perraud, and Thierry’s arrival now gives us a very good balance and a strong additional option in that position, and this is encouraging that we now have this on both sides of our defence.’
Small was just 16 years and 176 days when he came on as a late substitute against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup last January, breaking the club record held by Jose Baxter.
He was offered a first professional contract but declined to sign it amid concerns about his pathway to the first team.
Small, who has attracted interest from Bayern Munich, Juventus, Arsenal and Aston Villa, had failed to turn up for pre-season training in a show of his intent and has now cancelled his scholarship contract.
Everton will, however, be due compensation from Southampton which is likely to be set by a tribunal
Small said: ‘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.