Digne, Rafa clash show power shift
What is next for the Blues?
Lucas Digne made a bright start to his Everton career with four goals and an assist in 35 games in 2018-19 as he replaced club legend, Leighton Baines.
He hasn’t lived up to that kind of performance since, although he did have four assists in 30 games last season.
But with the appointment of Rafa Benitez, the French international’s remit has become more defensive and it’s not the best part of his game. The advent of a pair of solid wide-men in Andres Townsend and Demari Gray, who replaced as set-piece takers, can only have added to Digne’s indignation.
The fall-out came to a head when he argued with Benitez in Spanish and surely you shouldn’t argue with somebody in his native language.
According to a story in the Athletic, Benitez doesn’t back down, and given the fact that majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri backs Benitez doesn’t bode well for Digne.
The article goes on to quote a player, who wishes to remain anonymous.
“The problem is Benitez will see it as a fight he has to win — especially when it becomes public like it has with Digne,” says the ex-player, who preferred not to be named.
“If Digne doesn’t back down, Rafa certainly won’t.”
There are many other examples of Benitez’s willingness to stick to his guns.
What it means for Everton, is that combined with the departure of Marcel Brands, is that Benitez is in control of transfer policy. Considering, how hit and miss, the club’s policy has been, it’s not bad thing.
So numerous rumours have emerged about a new left-back.
Everton are set to sign defender Vitaliy Mykolenko from Dynamo Kiev - seemingly as a replacement for Digne, who is said to have fallen out with Rafael Benitez.
At 28, Digne would still be fairly high priced in the transfer market and he’s been linked with a number of Premier League Clubs. Mykolenko is younger than Digne and an Ukaraine international.
But the question is, has Moshiri and perhaps a group of magical accountants and lawyers found a way to spend money without Everton breaking FFP rules? After all, Benitez only spent £1.75 million in the summer window.
Only Moshiri and the board know for sure, it would be nice if they would communicate a bit.