Rafa Benitez confirms Lucas Digne HAS asked to leave Everton after their fall-out over tactics… with the defender left in the cold since December amid interest from Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham
- Lucas Digne seems destined to leave Everton in the January transfer window
- The defender and boss Rafa Benitez have had a falling out over tactics
- Benitez said on Friday that Digne has told him he wants to leave the club
Rafa Benitez has demanded a resolution to Lucas Digne’s future after confirming the France international has told him he wants to leave Everton.
Digne has fallen out with Benitez and has not played a single minute since the Merseyside derby defeat on December 1. He was on the bench against Brighton last week out of necessity.
There are a number of clubs interested in Digne, with Chelsea and Newcastle admirers in the Premier League and Inter Milan heading the suitors from Serie A. As yet, though, nobody has come forward with a compelling bid for the 28-year-old and Benitez wants that to change.
Rafa Benitez has revealed defender Lucas Digne has told him he wants to leave the club
Benitez can be guarded in his press conferences but he pulled no punches on Friday afternoon when his observations about Digne made it clear he has such serious concerns about the former Barcelona defender’s commitment that are parting of the ways is urgently required.
‘I think it was very clear,’ said Benitez. ‘I want to ask the question to every fan and former players – what Peter Reid will do and say when a players says he does not want to be there. It’s there, simple.
‘A couple of conversations with (Digne), he told me what he thought. What do you expect the manager to do when the player is thinking about to leave? I will say again: the fans, former players. What will Peter Reid say if a player goes to the manager and says he does not want to be here?’
Asked for clarification as to why Reid was used as specific example, Benitez explained: I know Peter Reid and I know how passionate he is about defending the club. I am using him as an example so that people understand my idea. I don’t try to criticise anyone. Everyone has their opinions.
‘When I was talking about Peter Reid, it was about someone who cares; who was always pushing for the best from everyone on the pitch. That was the idea. So when I talk about that, I’m talking about myself also wanting everything from the players. When they do not do that, I can be upset.’
Going further into detail, Benitez threw a barb at Digne and suggested he is more concerned in his own numbers than Everton’s form when he said: I’m a professional and I try to manage. Since my first day here, I know what the fans want. When you are not winning, it’s more difficult.
‘But the reality is we need players who want to be here, for any reason. Talking about individual stats when the team finished 10th? It means nothing to me. We need a winning mentality, we need ambition and we need to do things in the right way. Everyone knows each other here really well.’
Newcastle would have no problem being able to match Digne’s current £130,000 per week contract but he seems to favour a move to Chelsea, who need left-back cover after Ben Chilwell underwent surgery to repair his cruciate ligament.
Digne has been left in the cold since a fall-out with Benitez over his tactics at Everton
Benitez, who wants to sign Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, is exasperated with the persistent links with Digne to other clubs and has made it clear that those with interest should back up the whispers with a firm proposal.
‘I will say to you that I would like to sign (Erling) Haaland and (Kylian) Mbappe,’ said Benitez. ‘I can make enquiries but I do not have the commitment. We need commitment – not enquiries. I am not in charge of the negotiations. But when someone is asking, they have to commit.
‘They have to say ‘we will buy, we will pay or we will commit’. People can talk and talk. I am really pleased with Dominic (Calvert-Lewin). But if you bring me Mbappe, I will be really happy too. Can I do it? I can make an enquiry. You will then say: ‘oh, they are interested.’ But that’s it.’