It has been widely speculated that Rafael Benitez has fallen out with Lucas Digne, and news coming from the Everton camp on Friday afternoon appears to suggest that the pair can’t resolve their issues.
Renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano gave an explosive transfer insight regarding the Toffeed, taking to his Twitter profile to drop this exclusive to his millions of followers:
“EXCL: Ukraine left back Vitaliy Mykolenko is currently undergoing his medical as new Everton player, here we go! 🔵🇺🇦 #EFC”
“He’s set to join Everton from Dynamo Kiev on a permanent move, final price around €21/23m. Personal terms agreed.”
As recorded by WhoScored, since his arrival to the Premier League. no left-back has earned a higher rating than Digne, winning 28 aerial duels and 52 tackles in his 15 appearances for the Toffees this season. He also scored against Queens Park Rangers in their Carabao Cup tie.
According to The Athletic, Digne became frustrated in conversations with the Everton manager and continuously challenged Benitez, with the pair having reportedly ‘rarely seen eye to eye’ – specifically when it came to tactics – and tensions allegedly boiled over just ahead of the Arsenal match a couple of weeks ago.
Digne has established himself as a fan favourite, with the left-back speaking out about the reaction that many fans have had to him since he joined the club, saying: “They have even written a song for me, and I want to say thank you to them for that. We have something special in this club.”
Quite a few Everton fans have taken to Twitter to express their feelings and thoughts on the news shared by Romano. One fan tweeted; “If we sell @LucasDigne we are stupid, @everton you need to sack that fraud @rafabenitezweb #rafaout”
Another wrote: “I’ll be so, so angry if Digne is forced out of Everton in January. Angry at Rafa, and at the club by default, as with most things these days.”
It’s clear that some fans aren’t happy about potentially axing the £119k-p/w left back from the side, and with squad depth already thin and injuries piling up, Benitez cannot afford to lose any more players. Freezing out Digne could come back to bite the manager unless Everton can complete the mooted signing of Mykolenko, and even then the Ukrainian may have a hard act to follow.
Either way, his impending arrival seems to suggest that Benitez intends to move on from Digne, who might have already played his last game for the club.
In other news: Benitez could solve big issue at Everton by signing this gem