Everton have emerged as one of the busiest clubs in this January transfer window so far. They have already signed two star players in Nathan Patterson and Vitaliy Mykolenko while Anwar El Ghazi was recently brought in on loan from Aston Villa.
However, it has been the departure of Lucas Digne that has caught the eye, with the left-back joining Aston Villa in what has been one of the marquee signings of the Premier League in January so far.
Digne was the star player at Everton, having made 127 competitive appearances for the club since joining them in 2018. With six goals and 20 assists, he had established himself as one of the finest left-backs in the league, even becoming a regular with the French national team under the leadership of Didier Deschamps.
Digne’s spell at Everton came to an abrupt earlier this month after the Frenchman had a major fallout with new coach Rafa Benitez. The defender even fired shots at the Spaniard in his farewell post on Instagram, putting the entire blame of his departure to Villa Park on the coach, in what seemed like a well-calculated move.
Recently, Benitez himself has broken his silence over the saga, reacting to Digne’s move to Aston Villa in a recent press conference. “The reality is when you have a player thinking about to leave and you have an offer the main thing for me is to think about my responsibility to make decisions that are best for the team and the club.”, he said ahead of Everton’s game against Norwich City.
Digne’s departure from Goodison Park could further impact the strained relationship between him and the fans. There have already been calls for Benitez’s sacking by a section of the Everton fans, with Premier League pundit Gabby Agbonlahor recently urging the Toffees to appoint Wayne Rooney.
However, Benitez maintains he has no worries over his position at Everton. And after a busy transfer window, he will be hoping for an upturn of fortunes for his team, starting with Saturday’s crucial match-up against bottom club Norwich City.