Former Reading trainee Thierry Nevers has joined the Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol from West Ham United for an undisclosed fee.
The 21-year-old, who spent two-and-a-half-years at West Ham, joins a side recently eliminated from the Europa League but who made headlines in 2021 when they beat Real Madrid in the Champions League. They’re on course for European qualification once again, having won Phase I of the Moldovan League, althoguh they were knocked out of the Europa League after they finished bottom of a group also containing Roma and Slavia Prague.
Nevers is a product of the Reading Academy, spending nine years at the Madejski without making an appearance. Before he turned professional, he was snapped up by West Ham and given a three-year deal with the option of another year. In October 2021, he played for West Ham Under 23s in the EFL Trophy, scoring as they beat Gillingham 2-0
He had two Football League loan spells. The first was with Newport County, where he bagged in only his second outing, a 4-0 win at Harrogate. Despite the early promise, he failed to add to that tally and eventually left Rodney Parade with 18 appearances to his name, only five of which were starts in League Two.
He claimed his spell in South Wales had ‘toughened him up‘ for another loan stint, which came at Bradford City. However, he struggled for game time with the Bantams, who were en route to a play-off spot. He added just two starts to his tally, appearing times in total. His time there was blighted by injuries, and his two starts came in his final two matches as the club headed into the top seven.
He will not be the first Englishman to join the Moldovan champions – Tyler Reid is also on their books, a former Arsenal and Manchester Utd youth who, curiously, also had a short loan spell with Newport County.
This feels like a solid move for Nevers, especially if he gets regular football. Playing in Moldovan won’t further any international ambitions, but there is likely to be silverware and European football. Sheriff is a well-financed club as far as Moldova goes, and they’re expected to be competing at a good level in terms of European competition.
Who knows, perhaps a season or two out there, scoring and creating goals, will open the door for a return to the UK at a decent level. There’s talent in Nevers, that’s not to be doubted, but he needs regular football, which Moldova will provide.
Perhaps one day, Bradford fans might refer to him as the one who got away.