The feud between Rafael Benitez and Lucas Digne has been a hot topic of conversation in the football world over the last few weeks, and it seems that the transfer window will confirm whether the Everton manager feels that there is room to repair the fractured relationship with the left-back, or whether he will let him go to another club in the coming days and weeks.
Former Premier League midfielder Carlton Palmer has weighed in with his thoughts about rumours of a training ground rift and the future of Digne at Goodison Park, claiming in an interview with GIVEMESPORT that the Frenchman will probably depart for pastures new in the near future.
The 56-year-old declared: “Something has gone on with him and the manager, without a shadow, because he’s been an outstanding performer for Everton. publicly, Benitez has said nothing, apart from the fact that he’s not available. I think he will leave the club because there’s an issue between him and the manager.”
The 28-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs ahead of January, with a possible loan deal to Chelsea looking like one of the most likely scenarios after Ben Chilwell sustained a season-ending injury.
Some Everton fans have been vocal on social media reacting to the speculated fallout between the pair, and the subsequent reports linking the defender away from the club, all during a period of poor performances and form for the Toffees.
One Toffees fan tweeted in reaction to the alleged fallout: “Would much rather boot Rafa out than Digne. Rafa just boots anyone that challenges his awful management, or has an ounce of flair and skill. Digne has shown more commitment to the club over his time with us than Rafa ever will.”
It might not prove a popular decision with some Everton supporters, such as the one quoted above, but a loan deal could be the ideal situation for both Digne and Benitez to cool off their differences, allowing the £110k-p/w gem to come back and have a fresh start in pre-season with the Toffees in the summer.
That certainly seems preferable to the club simply getting rid of him now because of an apparent feud which could be smoothed over and then living to regret the haste with which they showed him the door.
If Palmer’s prediction of a permanent exit for Digne comes to light, that could leave many of the Goodison Park faithful fuming, particularly when he is one of the best tacklers in Benitez’s squad, winning 2.5 per game (second only to Allan with 2.9).