Having fallen out of favour with Everton boss Rafael Benitez, Lucas Digne has joined Premier League rivals Aston Villa.
Lucas Digne has completed his move to Aston Villa from Everton.
Villa have secured a deal reportedly worth up to £25million for the France full-back, who moves to Villa Park on a long-term contract.
Digne becomes Villa’s second signing of the January transfer window.
After Philippe Coutinho linked up with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard – now manager at Villa Park – on loan from Barcelona.
Villa confirmed Digne’s arrival on their official website on Thursday and Gerrard added:
“When Lucas became available we jumped at the opportunity to bring him to the club.”
“To sign a player of his pedigree and quality in the January window is a great addition to our squad and his arrival excites me and everyone associated with Aston Villa.”
Asked about Gerrard’s influence in completing a move between Everton and Villa, Digne said:
“It was the main factor. I came here for the manager.”
“I had a very good meeting with him and we spoke a couple of times during this month. I feel his desire to win, to show his football as a manager – the attacking football, the possession. I feel it’s what I want and what I want to show to the fans.”
Digne moved to Everton from Barcelona for a reported £18m in August 2018 and had been a fan favourite at Goodson Park.
However, the left-back has not featured for the Toffees since a 4-1 home defeat to Merseyside rivals – and Rafael Benitez’s former club Liverpool on December 1.
Digne had fallen out of favour following a rift with Benitez over tactics employed by an Everton side who have won just one of their last 12 Premier League matches.
The defender appeared to aim a parting shot at Benitez in a social media post on Wednesday, stating,
“Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.”
He had also been heavily linked with Chelsea, who are seeking reinforcement in the position following a long-term injury to Ben Chilwell, while Newcastle United, West Ham, Inter and Napoli were also credited with an interest.
What will Digne bring to Villa?
Having replaced Leighton Banes as the first choice at Everton, Digne went on to be a creative fulcrum under Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti, both from set-pieces and open play.
Since making his Everton debut on August 11, 2018, Digne has created 211 chances in the Premier League, ranking him behind only Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold (267) among defenders.
Digne’s 34 big chances created is the third most, behind Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, with his 18 league assists also only bettered by the Liverpool duo.
Alexander-Arnold (1,408) is also the only defender to have played more passes/crosses into the area than Digne (902), highlighting just how much of a persistent threat the Frenchman can be.
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