New challenge to Chelsea as Prem rival makes contact for top target; Newcastle ruled out

Allan Everton

Aston Villa have become the latest side to show an interest in completing a Lucas Digne transfer from Everton, according to a report.

Digne looks likely to leave Everton during the January transfer window. Despite being a key player since his 2018 arrival from Barcelona, he has fallen out of favour under Rafael Benitez. The left-back reportedly clashed with the manager in training.

He has not played for the club since, and their recent acquisition of fellow left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko points to his departure in January.

Chelsea were one of the first sides to register an interest in the Frenchman. They need more depth in the full-back areas after a long-term injury to Ben Chilwell.

But it soon became clear they were not alone in their pursuit of Digne. An update earlier on Wednesday revealed West Ham and Newcastle could also be in contention to take him for £30m.

Transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has ruled out Newcastle already. Within a tweet, he wrote: “Not even an option. No way.”

He confirmed Chelsea’s interest, though, and said a Premier League transfer is “likely”.

But now Football Insider have revealed a new threat to Chelsea in their attempts to land Digne. According to the online outlet, Aston Villa have made contact with Everton over a Lucas Digne transfer.

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

Steven Gerrard reportedly wants Villa to find a high-quality left-back to compete with Matt Targett. Ashley Young can also play there, but has been used further forward since his return to the club from Inter Milan.

Football Insider back up that the Lucas Digne transfer could cost £30m, pointing to his long-term contract until 2025.

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

Aston Villa eye attacking star as well as Lucas Digne transfer

Meanwhile, Aston Villa are in negotiations to reunite Gerrard with former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.

The pair first became team-mates at Anfield in January 2013 when Coutinho completed an £8.5million move from Inter. They played together until Steven Gerrard’s switch to MLS outfit LA Galaxy in July 2015.

Gerrard did not get to feature alongside Coutinho when the Brazilian was at his best in the Premier League. That came shortly afterwards, especially in the 2016-17 campaign.

But the attacking midfielder clearly left an impression on Gerrard. And reports now suggest they could work together again at Villa Park.

Sport Witness, who cite reports coming out of Spain, claim Villa are negotiating with Barcelona for Coutinho’s transfer.

The West Midlands club want to loan the 29-year-old until the end of the season. They believe he can still have an impact in England, despite his tough spell at Barcelona.

Gerrard is apparently driving the deal, having spoken to Coutinho on the phone to convince him to move.

One Spanish journalist even goes as far as saying the transfer is in the ‘final stages’. They suggest it could become official in the coming days.

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