The future of Everton star Lucas Digne is reportedly in doubt after he had an argument with manager Rafa Benitez in training.
The left-back has made 127 appearances for Everton since joining from Barcelona in August 2018. He is one of their most valuable assets, behind only Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison on transfermarkt.
Digne has been a regular since Benitez’s arrival, completing a full 90 minutes in each of Everton’s first nine Premier League matches this term. He even captained the side for three successive games between September 18 and October 2.
Digne was absent for the defeat to Wolves last month but soon got back into the starting lineup. However, he did not even make the bench for the recent victory over Arsenal.
The Athletic provide an intriguing report on the relationship between Digne and Benitez. They write that the Frenchman was dropped from the 18-man squad after arguing with Benitez in Spanish.
He remained at home for the crucial game at Goodison Park, despite being full fit and the club’s only senior left-back. Benitez saw this move as a necessary punishment even though it could have seen Everton’s winless run stretch to nine games.
The report states that Digne’s relationship with his boss is only getting worse. Trust is being ‘eroded’ as the pair continue to disagree over tactics.
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The player is challenging Benitez regularly on the training ground, which is impacting team morale and the status of the Spaniard.
It is less than a year since Digne penned a new deal lasting until 2025. However, he could now seek to leave Merseyside in favour of a club with vastly different tactics and ambitions.
Everton chiefs are desperate for a solution and may now search for Digne’s replacement at left-back.
Everton boss responds to Digne questions
Following the victory over Mikel Arteta’s side, Benitez spoke about Digne’s absence. “I think as a manager you have to make decisions and you have to do your team selection,” he told reporters (via Liverpool Echo).
“I decided that Ben Godfrey could be a good option for us for this game. He did really well so I am really pleased with that. That’s it.
“The main thing is to be sure the team is performing and we have the right mentality.”
It’s unclear whether Digne will be able to work his way back into Benitez’s plans ready for the weekend. The Toffees face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.