Everton transfer news: £31.5m international is 'going to be leaving' Goodison Park

Rafael Benitez Everton

Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie admits that he has been left surprised by the developments surrounding Lucas Digne at Everton, insisting that he is very likely to leave the club either in January or the summer. 

The France international is reported to have fallen out with manager Rafael Benitez and could now depart the club in the January transfer window. 

What’s the latest with Digne? 

The Athletic has reported that the Frenchman was initially frustrated with Benitez over the fact that he has been asked to play in a defensive role, instead of being able to attack with regularity. 

He has also been taken off of set-pieces, in another blow to Digne, and he is said to have argued with Benitez in Spanish in front of his team-mates on the training ground. 

That has led to him being omitted from Everton’s squad for their last three games, against Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and Chelsea. 

Ben Godfrey has subsequently been utilised as the club’s left-back in Digne’s absence, and it now appears that he could leave. 

Reports have suggested that he could even make something of a step up, with a move to Chelsea apparently on the cards. 

And Downie has expressed his shock at Digne’s situation at Goodison Park. 

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What has he said? 

Speaking to GiveMeSport, the Sky Sports journalist said: “Really surprised to hear things haven’t worked out for him at Everton and he’s going to be leaving.”

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Can Everton afford to lose him? 

It certainly looks as though they can, as they have already struck a deal to sign a replacement. 

Ukraine international Vitaliy Mykolenko is said to be on his way to Goodison Park after Everton struck a £17.9m deal to sign him from Shakhtar Donetsk, per The Guardian

Digne, though, remains a genuinely excellent left-back who would improve most sides in the Premier League. 

Per fbref, he posts some exceptional defensive numbers, winning 2.69 aerial duels per game, 2.74 tackles, and performing 2.4 shot-creating actions. 

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John Heitinga - Everton

Which club did John Heitinga start his professional career at?

All of those numbers place him in the top 20 per cent of full-backs across Europe and one has to think that he would be missed if he did depart. 

He has made a total of 127 appearances for the Toffees, scoring six goals and registering 20 assists, and has been something of a key man under previous managers. 

That makes it all the more surprising that he is essentially set to be bombed out of the club by Benitez in the next few weeks. 

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