A report has tipped Newcastle to make a surprise move for a disgruntled Everton star in the January transfer window.
Rafa Benitez’s time at Goodison Park has so far been eventful, to say the least. The Spaniard arrived with a questionable reputation among the club’s fans, given his links to their rivals Liverpool.
His past meant results had to be impressive from the outset, otherwise the majority of supporters would turn.
And some of them have been. They got off to a good start, picking up 14 points from their opening seven matches. That included relatively straightforward wins over Southampton and Burnley.
However, the Toffees have since slipped down the table. Benitez is under pressure following the defeats to Liverpool and Crystal Palace this month.
Results against Arsenal and Chelsea have helped his cause, although the general consensus is that a new manager will likely be in charge by the end of the campaign.
Benitez has also had trouble with two Everton stars – Richarlison and Lucas Digne. Richarlison was angry when being substituted in the loss to Palace.
Digne, meanwhile, has been out of the side since a training ground argument with Benitez.
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The Merseyside club have seemingly made moves to replace the 28-year-old, with Dynamo Kiev left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko set to join.
The Magpies need to bring in top-class talent if they are to avoid the drop, and Digne fits the bill. The report does not explain how Newcastle may complete a deal, although it does suggest that one may cost £31.5m.
Digne would come in to replace Jamal Lewis on the left side of defence.
Covid situation ‘on a knife edge’ – Newcastle boss
Meanwhile, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admits the Premier League’s Covid-19 dilemma is ‘on a knife edge’.
Five of the six games scheduled for Saturday have been postponed due to a rise in cases. Newcastle’s home game against Man City is still on, although that could change on the day.
“I don’t think we want half the games played and half not played,” Howe said.
“The league really loses something if it becomes disjointed in terms of games played.
“When you start losing players to Covid then the worry is the competition becomes slightly unfair and I don’t think anyone wants to see that.
“A decision needs to be made to ensure integrity is maintained in the competition. I think it is on a knife edge.
“People want to see a fair league and not disparity in games and players missing.
“I’m desperate to continue the programme myself but the welfare of the players and supporters has to come first.”