EPL

Villa complete swoop for Everton full-back Digne

By Sports Desk January 13, 2022

Lucas Digne has completed his move to Aston Villa from Everton.

Villa have secured a deal reportedly worth up to £25million for the France full-back, who moves to Villa Park on a long-term contract.

Digne becomes Villa's second signing of the January transfer window after Philippe Coutinho linked up with former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard – now manager at Villa Park – on loan from Barcelona.

Villa confirmed Digne's arrival on their official website on Thursday and Gerrard added: "When Lucas became available we jumped at the opportunity to bring him to the club.

"To sign a player of his pedigree and quality in the January window is a great addition to our squad and his arrival excites me and everyone associated with Aston Villa."

Asked about Gerrard's influence in completing a move between Everton and Villa, Digne said: "It was the main factor. I came here for the manager.

"I had a very good meeting with him and we spoke a couple of times during this month. I feel his desire to win, to show his football as a manager – the attacking football, the possession. I feel it’s what I want and what I want to show to the fans."

Digne moved to Everton from Barcelona for a reported £18m in August 2018 and had been a fan favourite at Goodison Park.

However, the left-back has not featured for the Toffees since a 4-1 home defeat to Merseyside rivals – and Rafael Benitez's former club – Liverpool on December 1.

Digne had fallen out of favour following a rift with Benitez over tactics employed by an Everton side who have won just one of their past 12 Premier League matches.

The defender appeared to aim a parting shot at Benitez in a social media post on Wednesday, stating "sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair".

He had also been heavily linked with Chelsea, who are seeking a reinforcement in the position following a long-term injury to Ben Chilwell, while Newcastle United, West Ham, Inter and Napoli were also credited with an interest. 

What will Digne bring to Villa?

Having replaced Leighton Baines as first choice at Everton, Digne went on to be a creative fulcrum under Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti, both from set-pieces and open play.

Since making his Everton debut on August 11, 2018, Digne has created 211 chances in the Premier League, ranking him behind only Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold (267) among defenders.

Digne's 34 big chances created is the third most, behind Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, with his 18 league assists also only bettered by the Liverpool duo.

Alexander-Arnold (1,408) is also the only defender to have played more passes/crosses into the area than Digne (902), highlighting just how much of a persistent threat the Frenchman can be.

But on the defensive side of things, Digne has proven himself slightly more reliable in the tackle than Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, with the former Paris Saint-Germain full-back boasting a better success rate (63.2 per cent) than both in such situations.

That also translates to his duels involvement, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Charlie Taylor the only full-backs (minimum 50 games played) to have a better duel success rate than Digne's 59.4 (712/1,199) since the Everton man made his Premier League debut.

Matt Targett will likely lose his place to Digne, who even in a more restricted attacking role has still created 1.7 chances per 90 minutes this season, compared to Targett's 1.3.

Digne's 1.5 tackles is also an improvement on Targett's 1.1, though he has averaged fewer interceptions (1.1) per 90 minutes than either Targett or Villa right-back Matthew Cash.

Related items

  • Football rumours: Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City chasing Rayan Ait-Nouri Football rumours: Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City chasing Rayan Ait-Nouri
    What the papers say

    The top three clubs in the Premier League, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City will battle for Wolves left back Rayan Ait-Nouri this summer, according to the Mirror. The 22-year-old Algerian has played 28 Premier League games for Wolves this season and scored two goals and added an assist.

    Meanwhile, Wolves are weighing up a number of players if their goalkeeper Jose Sa leaves in the summer. The Sun reports the clubs reported targets include Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher and Sunderland’s Anthony Patterson.

    Crystal Palace are considering a move for 23-year-old Club Brugge midfielder Raphael Onyedika if they lose star players Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, the Sun says.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Luis Diaz: Barcelona are circling the Liverpool forward this summer, who has scored eight goals with four assists in the Premier League this season, according to Spanish outlet Sport.

    Ferland Mendy: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are interested in Real Madrid’s 28-year-old French defender, French publication L’Equipe says.

  • Nottingham Forest claim VAR is a Luton fan after defeat at Everton Nottingham Forest claim VAR is a Luton fan after defeat at Everton

    Nottingham Forest have accused VAR Stuart Attwell of being a Luton fan after feeling they were on the wrong end of “three extremely poor decisions” during Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton.

    Forest posted on X, formerly Twitter, soon after full-time that they were considering their options, having “warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him”, adding that their patience had now been “tested multiple times” this season.

    The relegation-threatened midlands club were furious not to be awarded spot-kicks by Anthony Taylor for challenges on Giovanni Reyna and Callum Hudson-Odoi by Ashley Young, who in the meantime had looked fortunate to escape a handball decision, with Attwell backing the referee.

    Forest posted: “Three extremely poor decisions – three penalties not given – which we simply cannot accept.

    “We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game, but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times.

    “NFFC will now consider its options.”

    All three incidents were waved away by referee Taylor, with VAR Attwell opting not to reverse any decision, suggesting with the handball that Young’s arm had been deemed to be in a natural position when it was hit by Hudson-Odoi’s cross.

    Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo backed the club’s statement in the main but played down the importance of Attwell’s allegiances.

    Asked whether he agreed with his club’s stance, he said: “Yes I share (the view) because I saw the images. You see it so clearly, you don’t understand why the decision was against us.

    “I honestly think the situation with Gio Reyna in the first half was a clear one and the handball, we can ask because if not, the ball goes to (Chris) Wood and there is an incident with Callum and Ashley Young.

    “I share the feeling of the club because it is not only this game, it has been a while for poor decisions against us. It is not an excuse but we are not comfortable with the referees.”

    Nuno stopped short of repeating the club’s suggestion Attwell’s appointment as VAR raised issues of impartiality, instead choosing to question the official’s inability to spot what he thought were three viable spot-kicks.

    “I am aware of the complaint that the club was not comfortable with the VAR but the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) decided another way,” he said.

    “It is not important if he is a fan of another club or not. The VAR is sitting down in a chair, they have time to assess the images.

    “I would just like to understand the why – why we have always been on the end of bad decisions.

    “It is a feeling of disappointment that we are always being punished and it is difficult to control the players with this feeling because they felt they worked hard and not got what they deserved.”

    Asked whether he thought it was appropriate for the club to complain about the appointment of officials before a match, the Forest boss said: “I prefer not to answer if it is appropriate.

    “It’s a feeling and trying to avoid what happened today and not raise any more suspicions or thoughts that no-one wants. It is about preventing.”

    It is not the first time Forest have been incensed with refereeing decisions, and as a result they appointed former official Mark Clattenburg as a consultant analyst to fight their corner.

    Writing in the Daily Mail, Clattenburg described the three decisions as “a joke” and said Forest had been subjected to “some egregious refereeing” this season.

    He added: “You will have seen the statement released by the club — how the PGMOL were contacted to warn that it was not appropriate for a Luton fan such as Attwell to play such a pivotal role in a massive match that would impact the relegation race.

    “Certainly, I would not have risked this situation if I were the head of the referees and all of this could have been avoided had the PGMOL simply made smarter appointments.

    “Referees do not make mistakes deliberately but this was mind-boggling to watch. Why Attwell did not send Taylor to his screen, only he will know.”

    The PA news agency understands the Football Association is aware of the post and is investigating. PA has also contacted the PGMOL for comment.

    Amid the furore, Everton moved five points clear of the relegation zone after goals in either half for Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil.

    The only downside to the day for the hosts was striker Beto being carried off after being knocked unconscious in a clash of heads.

    “He definitely came around and could understand what is going on, a good early sign,” Toffees boss Sean Dyche said.

    “It was fantastic how early the medical team came around, we hope for news over the next 24 to 48 hours.”

    The Everton manager was happy to have secured back-to-back home wins either side of Monday’s 6-0 humiliation at Chelsea.

    “It is very pleasing considering the madness of the current situation – two wins and two clean sheets in three games, sandwiched by a horrible performance,” he said.

    “The reaction was very important today.”

  • On this day in 2006: Alan Shearer announces retirement from football On this day in 2006: Alan Shearer announces retirement from football

    Newcastle striker Alan Shearer announced his retirement from football on this day in 2006.

    The former England captain confirmed that his career had been brought to a close at the age of 35 after sustaining a knee injury in the Wear-Tyne derby the previous week.

    In what turned out to be his final game for the Magpies, Shearer scored a penalty as his side went on to win 4-1 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

    However, he was forced to call time on his playing days after tearing his medial ligament in a challenge with Julio Arca.

    News of his retirement came as Newcastle faced West Brom in their efforts to secure European football.

    A huge banner was displayed in an act of appreciation at the Gallowgate End of St James’ Park, showing Shearer in his famous goal celebration pose with the message: “Thanks for 10 great years.”

    With their talisman sidelined, goals from Nolberto Solano and Shola Ameobi kicked off the post-Shearer era as the Magpies beat the Baggies 3-0 in front of 52,272 fans.

    The crowd were sparked into full voice 15 minutes from time when Shearer briefly poked his head out of the dugout.

    Shearer arrived back to his native Tyneside in 1996 after transferring from Blackburn, and went on to score 206 goals in his 10 years at Newcastle.

    He is regarded as the greatest Premier League striker, scoring a record 260 goals, and won three Golden Boots during his career.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.