Lucas Digne: Aston Villa set to beat Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham to signing of Everton left-back | Transfer Centre News

Aston Villa are in advanced talks to sign Lucas Digne from Everton, with the left-back aiming to favor a pass to Steven Gerrard’s side.

Digne’s arrival would be a coup for Villa, as he appears to have beaten competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham to sign the French international.

Personal terms between Villa and Digne shouldn’t be a problem. The Midlands team has yet to agree on a commission with Everton, but it is likely to be between £ 20-25m.

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Everton boss Rafael Benitez confirms left-back Lucas Digne told him he wants to leave the club

Digne’s departure is expected this month after he had a public row with Everton manager Rafael Benitez over the team’s tactics.

Benitez revealed this week that Digne – who has 43 caps for France – had asked to leave the club. He hasn’t played since a 4-1 home defeat to rivals Liverpool on 1 December.

Villa’s move for the 28-year-old is further proof of their ambition under Gerrard, who helped secure the eye-catching signing of his former Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho earlier this week.

Chelsea were also believed to be keen to sign Digne following Ben Chilwell’s knee injury, which looks set to keep him out for the remainder of the season, but has decided not to pursue his initial interest.

Digne joined Everton from Barcelona in August 2018 and went on to play over 120 games for the club.

Analysis: Digne would bring a boost to creativity at Villa

Peter Smith of Sky Sport:

“It will be disappointing and frustrating for Everton fans to see Lucas Digne leave the club the way he will if this deal goes through. After all, he has been a key figure for them for the past three and a half seasons.

“He has recorded more assists than any other Everton player since joining the club in the summer of 2018 and created more chances than any of his teammates last season.

“Since the start of last season among Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson at Liverpool have created more chances.

“And it will be that creativity that will thrill Aston Villa fans.

Lucas Digne outpaces Aston Villa's Matt Targett in some key stats this season
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Lucas Digne beats Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett in some key stats this season

“Matt Targett was a good player for Villa in that left-back position, playing every Premier League match last season and picking up the players’ player of the season award.

“But French international Digne surpasses him in some key stats this season and will bring competition for places, something boss Steven Gerrard is trying to encourage across the pitch.

“After the huge money Villa invested in the summer and the arrival of Philippe Coutinho, Digne would be another demonstration of intent by Villa on which they are trying to kick off …”

Rafa indifferent to the banner calling for exit

Benitez insists he’s not worried about his future at Everton despite an away banner calling for his exit during the Toffees’ FA Cup third round 3-2 win in Hull on Saturday.

Everton’s win was only the second in 13 games, a spell of form that saw the pressure build up on former Liverpool manager Benitez.

The rare victory was not enough to spare the Spaniard from the ire of the fans, with the banner reading “Benitez leave our club” visible during the match.

But when asked if he was worried, Benitez said, “No. What I said earlier: the problems you try to solve have been long overdue.

“It’s not like we have different problems in the last three months, so the problems are similar and you try to solve them.

“I have experience to do it. I will try to do my best. If some fans understand this, they will support the team. This is the main thing, to be behind the team.

“If they don’t understand that some of them are okay, it’s up to them. But I will continue to try my best, be professional and make sure we can improve what is up to us.”

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