Everton’s big money acquisition of Richarlison grabbed many of the headlines this summer, whilst the Toffees also bagged a trio of stars from Barcelona. Of the three to arrive on Merseyside from the La Liga giants – Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne – it was the latter who probably generated the least excitement amongst many fans and media outlets alike.
Digne’s arrival, which cost the Toffees an initial £18 million, flew under the radar somewhat due to the other high profile signings being made by the club. However, by the end of the season, the left-back may go down as Everton’s smartest signing of the free-spending summer.
The France international is not the most explosive or aggressive kind of full-back, in the mould of Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy or Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso. However, his threat on the front foot should not be underestimated. The 25-year-old has forced his way into the first XI at Goodison Park and has already registered his first assist for his new club.
Against Arsenal last time out, despite being on the losing side, Digne completed three dribbles, made one key pass, delivered ten crosses into the Gunners’ box and was one of Everton’s most consistently effective attacking outlets.
Beyond his attacking impetus though, Digne is a very solid, reliable defender. At the Emirates Stadium, Digne made two tackles, three interceptions, three clearances, won three aerial duels and blocked one shot.
Arsenal themselves, whose own left-back options include the ageing Nacho Monreal and the unconvincing Sead Kolasinac, may regret not having made Digne their own this summer.
The former Barcelona defender has the capacity to become an asset for a club fighting for Champions League football and Everton may find themselves having to ward off suitors sooner rather than later.
If Everton are serious about getting into contention for European football themselves then Digne is the calibre of player they need to be recruiting on a regular basis. Considering that he only cost the Toffees a relatively modest fee of £18 million he has to be considered something of a bargain buy too.
Whilst other bigger names will likely get talked about and analysed far more this season, expect Digne to be consistently and quietly excellent in the left-back berth at Goodison.
Silva has pulled off a brilliant deal in signing the full-back to a five year contract but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to be prised away by one of the ‘big six’ before long – that is certainly the level he is capable of reaching, with or without Everton.