Everton have been proactive in the January transfer window, welcoming Nathan Patterson and Vitaliy Mykolenko to the club. Now the focus has shifted to offloading Lucas Digne who has had made up his mind to leave the Toffees after falling out with Rafa Benitez.
Several Premier League and Serie A clubs have been linked with Digne. From Italy, Inter Milan and Juventus showed considerable interest, however, a host of clubs in England have been battling for his signature. Newcastle United, Chelsea and Aston Villa were eyeing the 28 year old but with the Blues dropping out of the race and Digne not keen on the prospect of playing for the Magpies, Villa are now the front runners.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Villa have been working for days to sign Digne and are frontrunners for the former AS Roma man. Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi may be used as a makeweight in the deal and such a possibility has been discussed between the two clubs. This week should be key in negotiations as even Digne is attracted with the idea of playing for Villa.
El Ghazi has been at Villa since 2018 with the club taking him initially on loan and signing him permanently in 2019. In his Aston Villa career, he has netted 26 goals and provided 16 assists. El Ghazi would bolster the wings which isn’t an area that needs immediate attention as of now as Everton signed Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray in the summer.
Everton not interested in Anwar El Ghazi and instead want a straight sale of Lucas Digne
Despite reports, Everton are not interested in a player plus cash deal for Digne, which means that El Ghazi would not go the other way. According to Alan Myers, the Toffees do not want a player plus cash deal, they would prefer a straight sale.
Even though El Ghazi would have been a significant addition but Everton are right to stick to their desire to get cash straight up rather than entertaining a player plus cash deal. This will further allow the Merseysiders to strengthen the midfield.
Mykolenko has already been integrated in the first team and made his Everton debut in the FA Cup against Hull City. The Ukrainian played 120 minutes and had an impressive first outing in the royal blue shirt. Deal for Digne could be closed soon allowing Everton to spend some extra bits of cash and giving them significant time in the window to make an attempt to sign another transfer target.
Will Lucas Digne join Aston Villa?