By Wayne Veysey

21st Jul, 2021 | 9:53am

Sources: Everton wonderkid Small 'very keen' on joining Aston Villa and going back 'home'

Everton wonderkid Thierry Small is “very keen” on joining Aston Villa, Football Insider understands.

The 16-year-old’s future is up in the air after he failed to return to pre-season training with the Merseysiders, although they remain in contact with him and are hopeful he will stay.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Small has had his head turned by the interest from Villa, partly due to his strong links with the club.

The teenager, who hails from the Midlands and was on West Brom’s books until the age of 11, is a Villa fan and his uncle Bryan played for the club for six years.

Small considers the Midlands “home”, the source added, and that is a key factor in his current deliberations.

The left-back’s decision not to return to pre-season training with Everton has attracted headlines as well as criticism from fans and pundits.

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It comes at a time when the club are trying to tie him down to a professional contract when he turns 17 on 1 August.

Everton have tabled an offer that they believe is very generous, but which Small has rejected.

That has opened the door to rival suitors, who include Man United, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as well as Villa.

Small became Everton’s youngest-ever player when he made his first-team debut in January.

Carlo Ancelotti is a huge admirer of the youngster and wants to take him to Real, but that is unlikely at this stage due to the complex new Brexit rules for British players under the age of 18.

In other news, Aston Villa tipped to sign senior star as player “goes back home”.