Everton have made one of the first signings of the January transfer window, and this development could be the culmination of the rumoured Lucas Digne and Rafael Benitez feud, as it is looking increasingly likely that the left back will now leave the club.
The Toffees completed the signing of Vitaliy Mykolenko this morning, with the Ukrainian penning a four-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.
The youngster spoke out after securing his move to the Premier League from Dynamo Kyiv, saying: “Moving to Everton is a big and important step in my life. I have always dreamed of playing in the Premier League. English football is where the game was born and I think that it will suit my game very well.”
The signing of the 22-year-old seemingly confirms that the speculated differences between Digne and his current manager are irreparable, with the pair reportedly falling out over a conflict in opinion on tactics during a training session.
The £110k-p/w gem, dubbed a “monster” by former France full-back Eric De Meco, has not been seen in the starting line-up since the Merseyside derby a month ago, and he has not even been in the squad for the subsequent games, although has been seen in training over the last few days.
Digne has been heavily linked with a move away from the club, with a loan switch to Chelsea to cover the injured Ben Chilwell among the rumours which had been building in momentum for the out-of-favour Frenchman.
Benitez is already struggling to win over the fans after a poor first half of the season, and this situation with Digne, who has become a fan favourite at the club, will surely only add fuel to the fire regarding the scrutiny the Spaniard has faced in his time managing the Toffees.
According to SofaScore, when you reflect on his defensive attributes from last season, he helped in keeping nine clean sheets out of 30 matches played, with an average of 2.4 clearances per game and no errors leading to shots or goals for the entire campaign.
Benitez could be heading for a colossal mistake by axing the defender, losing out on his experience in a vulnerable phase for the Merseyside club right now, and the Spaniard will need to justify the signing of Mykolenko rapidly if he intends to win over the fans and prove that his decision is the right one.
In other news: Benitez could sign this Premier League ace in January