Arsenal beaten by Southampton to highly rated teenager Thierry Small

Arsenal have been beaten to the signing of highly-rated teenager Thierry Small by Southampton in the latest blow for the Gunners.

Mikel Arteta's side are already under pressure after opening their Premier League campaign with successive 2-0 defeats to Brentford and Chelsea.

The poor start to the season has thrown Arsenal's summer spending into sharp focus – although Albert Sambi Lokonga was the only new signing who started Sunday's home loss to their London rivals.

And now the Gunners appear to have missed out on a promising prospect for the future in 17-year-old left-back Small, who can also play as a centre-half and a left winger.

The Everton academy product was unveiled as a Southampton player on Tuesday after turning down the offer of a professional contract at Goodison.

Arsenal were one of several clubs keen on the England under-17 international, along with Bayern Munich, Juventus and Aston Villa, according to The Sun.

Small made history in January when he became the youngest player to turn out for Everton, coming on in an FA Cup fourth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday aged 16 years and 176 days.

But he decided to join Ralph Hasenhuttl's Saints, saying: "I thought this is the best place for me to develop as a player and reach new levels to my game.”

Arsenal have so far signed £50million centre-back Ben White, as well as midfielder Lokonga, left-back Nuno Tavares, playmaker Martin Odegaard and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Will Arsenal's summer signings come good? Have your say in the comments below

Tavares came off the bench during Sunday's Chelsea defeat, while White was unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19, while Odegaard and Ramsdale were not signed in time to be registered.

Arsenal legend Martin Keown is yet to be convinced by the Gunners' summer spending, questioning the decision to spend £25m on Ramsdale after they allowed Emiliano Martinez to join Villa last summer.

“I just feel there’s a few red flags amongst some of these signings," Keown told the TalkSport Daily podcast.

"When you’re looking at Ramsdale – and by no means is it his fault – but when you look at Martinez going to Villa, who’s now the Argentinian No1 goalkeeper, then you have to start to wonder about the wisdom of that particular decision."

Keown also questioned whether Arsenal could have spent the £30m fee for Odegaard more wisely.

“I think Smith Rowe is a better player in that position. But if the manager feels this Odegaard can bring something extra to the group then time will tell again."

Speaking ahead of Sunday's defeat to Chelsea, he added: “I don’t think though that he’s a world-class player but I do think he’s a promising player.

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“The other signings, it’s still too early to say. Lokonga in midfield played okay the other night.

“I would’ve thought that’s where the money should have been spent, big money in that central midfield position."

Arsenal are away to West Brom in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday before a daunting trip to face Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Get your hands on your club's special edition 2021/22 annual. Find out more here.

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