Premier League • England

Chelsea learn cost of sealing critical Everton deal, though West Ham, Newcastle lurk

Rafael Benitez speaking to Everton pair Lucas Digne and Demarai Gray

Everton left-back Lucas Digne is in high demand, and Chelsea have been told what it’ll take to seal a deal that has now assumed greater importance.

The Frenchman, 28, remains on the fringes of the Everton squad following a fall-out with Rafael Benitez. Digne was again overlooked for selection against Brighton last weekend. Right-back Seamus Coleman deputised on the left side, and Benitez’s post-match comments spoke volumes.

Via Sky Sports, the Toffees boss said: “The most important thing for me is having players on the pitch who want to be there.”

Everton wasted little time in resolving their issues at full-back this week.

Just five days into the winter window, the Toffees have already signed left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko from Dynamo Kiev. Right-back Nathan Patterson then arrived from Rangers on Tuesday.

That would seemingly indicate Everton are prepared to sever ties with Digne, and that is what Sky Sports suggest will happen.

Chelsea need for Lucas Digne grows

Firstly, they list the quintet of clubs chasing Digne’s signature. Napoli comprise the overseas interest. Though their transfer desires do not match Everton’s Napoli reportedly seek a loan with an option to buy. Everton, meanwhile, would prefer an outright sale.

From the Premier League, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and an unnamed fourth club have Digne in their sights.

Everton will reportedly command a £30m fee for Digne, and that figure could prove acceptable to Chelsea.

Lucas Digne battle between Chelsea and West Ham

Lucas Digne is set to leave Everton but West Ham will battle Chelsea to get the signature of the left back

The Blues are in desperate need of reinforcements at wing-back following injuries to Reece James and Ben Chilwell.

Chelsea had hoped Chilwell could rehab his ACL injury without the need for surgery. However, those hopes were dashed when 25-year-old finally went under the knife last week.

With the struggling Marcos Alonso Thomas Tuchel’s only recognised wing-back left standing, a Digne arrival would make perfect sense.

Another option open to Tuchel is recalling Emerson Palmieri from his loan stint at Lyon. Fellow Digne-chasers Newcastle and West Ham will be hoping Chelsea take that route.

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte in strong position to sign star AC Milan duo

Lukaku acknowledges fan outrage in apology video

Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku has issued an apology video to Chelsea fans in which he outlines his plan to recover from his bombshell interview.

The Belgian striker had already apologised to his boss Thomas Tuchel but has now addressed the Blues fanbase in an interview on the club’s website.

In a Twitter clip titled ‘A message from Romelu’, Lukaku said: “To the fans, I’m sorry for the upset that I caused.

“You guys know the connection that I have with this club since my teenage years. So I totally understand you guys being upset.

“Obviously it’s up to me now to restore your trust and I’ll do my best to show commitment every day on the training ground, and in the games, trying to make sure we win games.

“Also to the manager I apologise and also to my teammates. And the board because I think it was not the right moment also.

“And I want to move on forward from this and make sure that we start winning football games and I perform for the team in the best manner.”

READ MORE: Newcastle transfer bad news for Tuchel, with Chelsea favourite next to move