Sources: Brands under fire from Everton chiefs over Small move to Southampton as new details emerge
Everton chiefs are unhappy their record-breaking youngster Thierry Small was allowed to quit for Southampton last month, Football Insider has learned.
The Saints announced the signing of the defender, 17, after he snubbed the Merseysiders’ offer of a professional contract.
An Everton source has told Football Insider that questions are being asked from the top of the club of sporting director Marcel Brands about how relations with Small and his camp broke down to such an extent that he left.
There is a section of the club hierarchy who believe Brands should have been far more proactive in maintaining a positive dialogue with the youngster, his family and agent.
Everton will point out Small was offered an industry-standard contract for a Premier League player of his age and experience.
Small turned 17 on 1 August and was able to negotiate a professional contract to replace his expiring scholarship deal.
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Significantly, he did not want to leave Goodison Park until relations broke down completely and there is a strong belief from some at the top of the club that it was Brands’ job to smooth things over and keep hold of him.
Everton have painted a picture of Small being a greedy troublemaker who was led astray by his representatives.
But that is not how he is viewed by the first-team and academy coaches who worked with him at the Merseyside club.
They regarded Small as having a fantastic attitude who was a delight to work with during his six years at the club.
He was so highly regarded that ex-manager Carlo Ancelotti made him the youngest debutant in Everton’s history in January.
That preceded the fall-out that led to Small joining Southampton without a fee having been agreed.
That is now likely to be decided by a tribunal as the Merseysiders have rejected a £1.5million offer from the Saints for a player they value around the £5.5m mark.