Premier League • England

Chelsea laughing as Everton star wrecks Benitez plan for ambitious Newcastle swap deal

Rafael Benitez looks to the floor during Everton vs Brighton, January 2022

Lucas Digne is reportedly prioritising a move to a club with genuine European ambitions like Chelsea, in a blow to Everton’s hopes of a Newcastle swap deal.

The Toffees left-back looks destined for the exit door at Goodison Park following developments in recent weeks. While he has proved a vital player for Everton since his arrival, that has changed under Rafael Benitez.

Indeed, the manager and French defender supposedly had a disagreement in training.

Digne has therefore not played in four Premier League matches, with Benitez opting to play right-back Seamus Coleman on the left against Brighton.

Benitez said he wanted “players on the pitch who want to be there” and who want to “fight” for Everton. As a result, talk of Digne’s exit has ramped up in recent weeks.

Chelsea still look like one of the frontrunners as they look to find cover for the injured Ben Chilwell. However, the Daily Mirror reports that Everton wanted a swap deal with Newcastle.

Benitez wants to sign Magpies midfielder Sean Longstaff and hoped Newcastle would do a player-plus-cash deal involving Digne.

But the newspaper reports that Digne has rejected a move to the North East, therefore wrecking Benitez’s plan.

Lucas Digne to Chelsea is on as Everton left back wants out

Lucas Digne is ready for his chance at Chelsea as Everton are ready to sell after manager spat

The France international does not want to have a role in a side battling against relegation. Instead, he is looking for a club with ‘genuine’ European ambitions like Chelsea.

What’s more, Leicester, West Ham and Aston Villa have expressed an interest. Inter Milan and Digne’s former club Paris Saint-Germain are both also keen, but they only want a straight loan deal.

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Everton want more new January signings and know they will have to sell before they can buy.

The Toffees have already signed two full-backs in Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson.

Patterson in, Digne out at Everton on the cards

New Everton signing Nathan Patterson (image via Evertonfc.com)

Right-back Patterson, who has signed Rangers, expressed his delight at signing for Everton.

“It was an easy choice to sign,” Nathan Patterson told EvertonTV. “This is a massive club with huge history and the fanbase is tremendous.

“Obviously we aren’t in the place where we want to be right now but we can definitely get there with the talent in the changing room and staff here, and I have full belief we can do that.

“It is really exciting to come to a club that has huge talent in the team. I am going to work my socks off and hopefully I can do well with them in training and in games.”

Everton return to action on Saturday when facing Hull City in the third round of the FA Cup.