Lucas Digne appears to be nearing an exit from Goodison Park

Aston Villa transfer news: Lucas Digne ‘didn’t expect to leave Everton this way’ as he closes on £25m move | Transfer Centre News


Lucas Digne has told Everton supporters that he “did not expect it to end this way” as he bids farewell ahead of his £25m move to Aston Villa.

Villa have beaten competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham for the signing of Digne, who was due in Birmingham on Wednesday for a medical.

The 28-year-old’s exit comes after a falling out with Rafael Benitez over the team’s tactics, which has seen him sidelined since the 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool on December 1.

The Everton manager revealed earlier this month that Digne had asked to leave the club, and appeared to accuse the left-back of putting his needs ahead of the team’s.

But Digne hit back on Wednesday night, saying in an Instagram post that “sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair”.

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Last season, Digne was Everton’s top chance creator

“Thank you for three-and-a-half years in blue,” Digne wrote. “From day one the Evertonians have received me with a lot of warm feelings, and I am forever thankful for that.

“I have loved to be a part of the Everton family. I have always worked hard to give back to the fans on and off the pitch. I have loved the unity of fans and players, not only Goodison (Park) on a match day but also in everyday life.

“Only one year ago I signed a new contract with the ambition of staying in this club for a long time, giving everything for my club, for the development and project that I believed in – and for the passionate fans.

“My dream was helping the club back where it belongs. Wearing the captain’s armband in some matches always made me proud.

“Everything must come to an end. I just did not expect it to end this way. What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad.

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The Transfer Talk panel discuss the qualities that Lucas Digne would bring to Aston Villa if he was to make the move from Everton before the end of the month

“But I will not enter a war on words with anyone. The club don’t deserve that, the fans don’t deserve that – and to be honest, I don’t feel that I deserve that.

“There are so many good and decent people in and around Everton who want the best for this club and not only for themselves – and to them I can only say from my heart: I wish you the best!

“Thank you, to all you wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians. It has been an honour and a true pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people – because a club does not belong to a player or a manager, but to the fans. I will always carry you with me in my heart wherever I go.

“Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.”

Digne’s likely arrival at Villa comes just a week after Steven Gerrard brought his former Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho to the club on loan from Barcelona.

Villa are also interested in signing Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma as he enters the final 18 months of his contract at the Amex Stadium.

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Plenty of progress has been made on Everton’s new state of the art stadium at Bramley Moore Dock

Everton have already signed Ukraine international Vitaliy Mykolenko as a replacement for Digne.

The Toffees also secured the services of Rangers and Scotland right-back Nathan Patterson in a deal worth £16m earlier in the January window.

So far this season, Digne has played 15 games and scored once for Everton, who are 15th in the table ahead of their clash away at Norwich on Saturday.

Would Digne be a good fit for Villa?

Analysis from Sky Sports’ Peter Smith…

What will the France international bring to Steven Gerrard’s squad?

Digne’s fallout with Rafael Benitez has clouded what appear to be his final weeks with the club but over the past three-and-a-half seasons he has been a key player for Everton.

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Sky Sports’ Peter Smith explains what Lucas Digne would bring to Aston Villa if his proposed move from Everton is completed

Since he joined in 2018, he has recorded more assists than any other Everton player and led the way for his team in assists and chances created last season.

Everton have signed 22-year-old Vitaliy Mykolenko as a replacement and while the Ukraine international has experience in the Champions League and played at the Euros last summer, he clearly cannot match Digne’s quality and experience at this moment in time.

Digne, after all, has over 40 caps for France and has experienced title wins with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

It will be his creative stats exciting Aston Villa supporters, though. At 28, Digne is in his prime and at a level where his attacking output ranks among the best by full-backs in the Premier League.

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Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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