Saints sign teenage star Small


Southampton Football Club is delighted to announce it has completed a deal for sought-after teenage talent Thierry Small, with the youngster moving to St Mary’s from Everton.

The 17-year-old left-back has signed a three-year professional contract with the club, adding further strength and depth to Ralph Hasenhüttl’s squad ahead of the summer transfer window closing.

A product of the Everton academy, Small is considered one of the most promising young full-backs in the country, while he has also spent time operating as a central defender and left winger.

He wrote his name into the Everton history books earlier this year, when he became the club’s youngest ever senior player, making his debut in an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday at the age of just 16 years and 176 days, having already become a regular for the club’s Under-23s side.

Solihull-born Small also received a maiden call up to the England Under-19s squad in May and now becomes the third defender to be added to the first-team group this summer, following the arrivals of Romain Perraud and fellow teenager Tino Livramento.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl 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.”

Thierry 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.

“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.”