Everton have developed a reputation for transfer disasters over the years since Farhad Moshiri became the majority stakeholder at Goodison Park, but whilst the club have often got it wrong, sometimes they have exercised immaculate judgement.
Indeed, this season in the Premier League it is looking like the nine new signings have improved and enhanced the squad under Frank Lampard, with Everton 12th in the league table after a promising start to the campaign.
The Toffees have the joint-best defensive record in the division, conceding just nine goals alongside Manchester City, Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion, something that nobody could have predicted following their relegation scrap over the 2021/22 campaign.
Last season, only Watford, Norwich City, Leeds United and Southampton conceded more goals than the Toffees, which ultimately contributed to their struggle for survival in the top flight as their Premier League status wasn’t secured until the penultimate game of the season.
Lampard’s current first-choice back four of Vitaliy Mykolenko, James Tarkowski, Conor Coady and Nathan Patterson or Seamus Coleman would have exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic Everton supporters this season, and has proven that the club doesn’t always get it wrong on the transfer front.
The Frenchman had become a fan favourite during his time at the club, tallying 127 appearances, six goals and 20 assists in three-and-a-half years on Merseyside, but the breakdown of his relationship with Lampard’s unpopular predecessor Rafael Benitez was beyond repair and the player was sold.
At the time, it was considered a bad move for Everton, but hindsight is a wonderful thing now that Digne is struggling with injury problems and inconsistent performances at Villa Park.
The 29-year-old, who was previously dubbed a “nightmare” by Sky Sports commentator Andy Hinchliffe, has sustained a suspected stress fracture to his ankle whilst on international duty. His recovery time is currently unknown, and had he remained at Goodison Park, that would have been a headache for Everton, who have struggled with injuries non-stop over the last 12 months.
Furthermore, Digne hasn’t been a standout performer in Aston Villa’s team since joining in January and has contributed to their struggles, with Steven Gerrard’s side currently 16th in the Premier League.
Across seven appearances this season, the full-back has offered no goal contributions or chance creation, has lost possession of the ball once every 4.2 touches per game, has made zero dribble attempts, given away one penalty through foul play and committed 1.3 fouls per game.
With that in mind, it is now clear that Moshiri struck gold by selling Digne in January, as the 29-year-old is now worth up to just €15m (£13.1m) according to CIES Football Observatory, 47.6% less than what Everton sold him for just nine months ago.