Everton have been adding players to their squad this week, with two new signings made in the January transfer window so far.
However, when it comes to outgoings, speculation has been mounting amid a feud at the club, and Rafael Benitez has been addressing rumours today.
The Everton manager didn’t hold back in his FA Cup pre-match conference this afternoon when it came to talking about a particularly sensitive subject which has been a hot topic of conversation over the last month.
Benitez ranted to the media about the rumoured exit of Toffees left back Lucas Digne and his perspective of the situation, namechecking Everton legend Peter Reid as he responded to questions.
He stated: “I think it was very clear. I want to ask the question to every fan and former players – what Peter Reid will do and say when a players says he does not want to be there. It’s there, simple.
“A couple of conversations with (Digne), he told me what he thought. What do you expect the manager to do when the player is thinking about to leave? I will say again: the fans, former players. What will Peter Reid say if a player goes to the manager and says he does not want to be here?”
“I’m talking about myself also wanting everything from the players. When they do not do that, I can be upset.”
The manager’s passionate speech comes after an argument with the Toffees defender in training just over a month ago, and it has now escalated to Digne being linked with a move away and Benitez confirming in this conference that the player wants to leave Merseyside.
Everton have been struggling to pick up results over the last few months, with just five league wins from the first half of the season, and losing a player as experienced as Digne is something that the fans will be gutted to see.
Some supporters have taken to social media platforms to express their disappointment at the France international being frozen out, with one fan tweeting: “It really is a shame to see Digne leave like this”
The defender has become a fan favourite at the club after offering 126 appearances, six goals and 20 assists for the Toffees during his three-and-a-half years with the Merseyside club, and it seems a real shame for the Goodison Park faithful that the situation had deteriorated to this extent.
Digne did make the bench for the first time in a month last week, but it will be interesting to see if Benitez puts aside his tumultuous relationship with the left-back by naming him in the line-up for the FA Cup game against Hull City tomorrow evening, after a poor defensive performance in his absence against Brighton.