Aston Villa will be without Lucas Digne for an indefinite amount of time…
“Lucas Digne the big concern; no return date for the Frenchman with Ludwig Augustinsson the favourite to come in at left-back vs Leeds,” he tweeted.
The 29-year-old full-back picked up an issue during the international break, where he was called up for France, and is set to be sidelined for “a few weeks” at the very least.
Digne is a crucial member of Steven Gerrard’s starting lineup, so his absence is an obvious blow to the manager and the rest of the squad.
The France star is one of just two players to have played 100% of minutes in their seven outings in the Premier League since the start of the 2022/23 campaign, the other being goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, which proves just how important he is to the former Liverpool midfielder.
Meanwhile, only Tyrone Mings (2.4) is winning more aerial duels per game than Digne (2.1), whilst an average of 2.3 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game also suggests that he’s a very solid and reliable defender for the team.
But it’s further forward where his presence is often felt, ranking as the joint-second most creative option in the squad, having averaged 0.9 key passes per game this term, also via WhoScored.
“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,” Gerrard explained after snatching the Frenchman in a £25m deal from Everton back in January.
His back-up, Augustinsson, is yet to feature for Villa since arriving on loan from Sevilla in the summer, so it’s hard to gauge whether he will be a suitable alternative or not but Digne is going to be a very hard man to replace, given his importance to Gerrard over the past ten months.
Just as Preece says, it’s certainly a big concern – and now blow – for the Villa boss.