Marcel Brands must block any attempts by Atletico Madrid to sign star left-back Lucas Digne this summer, after the publication of a report suggesting that The Blues could cash in on the defender in order to fund a transfer of their own.
According to Gol Digital, La Liga leaders Atletico are keen on signing Digne in the summer transfer window as boss Diego Simeone strives to improve his options at left-back.
Digne is considered to be a player who meets Simeone’s checklist as the Frenchman is fast, strong and plays with an offensive threat that can make the 27-year-old an extra forward.
Everton are expected to value the former FC Barcelona defender at no less than €30m (£25.5m) after Digne penned a new £119,000-per-week contract last month, keeping him tied down at Goodison Park through to June 2025.
But despite his new deal, Carlo Ancelotti is said to be open to parting ways with the full-back, as the Italian would like to sign Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilon just a year after he left Real Madrid in a deal that could reach £32m.
Digne would also be expected to have admirers from clubs in the Serie A and Bundesliga if his time on Merseyside is set to end this season, while Atletico would need to find new homes for Kieran Trippier, Santiago Arias and Sime Vrsaljko to fund their pursuit.
It certainly seems questionable that Ancelotti would be looking to replace Digne just weeks after he signed a deal to extend his spell at Everton for a further two seasons from the five-year terms agreed upon his £18m arrival in 2018.
But, if true, Everton’s Director of Football Marcel Brands – who Ancelotti claims he enjoys a “beautiful relationship” with – must step in and block the Italian coach from a potentially huge blunder of trying to move Digne on and replacing him with Reguilon.
Everton would be taking a step backwards by parting with Digne, who has six assists in 20 Premier League games this season, for Reguilon, who has offered three assists in 17 top-flight matches since joining Tottenham last year.
Reguilon has talent, no doubt, with Jamie Redknapp claiming the five-cap Spain international was “fantastic” for Spurs before being sidelined with a muscle injury in his right leg at the end of January.
“When he was playing, he was fantastic. He had great energy, was crossing the ball, good in one-on-one situations – he had it all. It’s no surprise that their performances have not been as good since he has not been playing. He offers so much to this team,” the Sky Sports pundit said, via quotes by The Boot Room.
But Reguilon would not be an upgrade on Digne, who averages 1.6 key passes and 1.6 accurate crosses (22%) a game in the Premier League this season to the Tottenham man’s 0.6 chances created and 0.5 accurate crosses (24%), per SofaScore.
Signing Reguilon would also see Ancelotti acquire an inferior aerial presence at left-back with the £48,000-per-week 24-year-old offering 1.0 duels won (40%) a game to Digne’s 3.1 (67%). Although the pair are evenly matched for defensive contributions, with two and 2.2 successful tackles, 2.2 and 2.3 clearances plus 1.2 and 1.0 interceptions respectively.
Though it is in Digne’s offensive contributions that Ancelotti relies on the Frenchman the most, with only James Rodriguez offering a higher volume of key passes (1.7) than the full-back who offers the highest number of accurate crosses per league game at Everton, per WhoScored.
Tottenham would be expected to strive to acquire a substantial figure for Reguilon, as well, so there would not be a financial benefit to replacing Digne with him, making it even more puzzling why Ancelotti would be considering making this change in the summer.