By Alex McLeish

16th Sep, 2021 | 7:30pm

McLeish issues 'unprecedented' reveal as new details emerge on Small's move from Everton to Southampton

Alex McLeish has defended Everton sporting director Marcel Brands as he faces criticism from other club chiefs.

The former manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, reacted to the latest Toffees news.

This site revealed on Wednesday (15 September) Everton chiefs are unhappy record-breaking youngster Small was allowed to quit the club.

An Everton source has told Football Insider that questions are being asked from the top of the club of sporting director Brands.

The Saints announced the signing of the defender, 17, after he snubbed the Merseysiders’ offer of a professional contract.

The fee has yet to be agreed and could now be decided by an independent tribunal, with Everton due compensation for developing the teenager.

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McLeish insists there must be more going on if Brands is under heavy criticism.

“We just don’t know the ins and outs of what’s happened,” McLeish told Football Insider‘s Adam Williams.

“There might have been something else going on, we just don’t know.

“You would think if you have a gem onboard you would move heaven and earth to keep him.

“It’s a surprise they have let him go. For the age he’s at, I guess any tribunal fee could repay some of that.

“I had a kid and Man United were sniffing about. His contract was up and he was after a new deal.

“We put him on unprecedented money because I felt it would have harmed the club if we had lost him at that time.

“Brands seems to have done pretty well in his recruitment so maybe there is another story there.

“Letting those kinds of players go is not something clubs do. Maybe he was unhappy and you can’t keep a player against his wishes.”

In other news, Patterson to Everton may already be a done deal after Rangers update – Whelan.