For the past three seasons, Lucas Digne was a regular at Everton, the popular player known for bombing up and down the touchline, lobbing in crosses with his sweet left foot. His service created many a chance for Everton’s forwards, and especially for striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Yet this season he fell out of favor under Rafa Benitez, with the manager often preferring a more cautious approach to the Frenchman’s swashbuckling exploits down the left flank.
Even so, it was still a surprise when it became clear that Digne was going to leave Goodison Park. He wrote this on Instagram:
My dream was helping the club back where it belongs. Wearing the captain’s armband in some matches always made me proud. Everything must come to an end. I just didn’t expect it to end this way.
What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad, but I’ll not enter a war of words with anyone. The club don’t deserve that, the fans don’t deserve that and to be honest, I don’t feel I deserve that … Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.
That one person, of course, is Benitez, who had claimed that the 28-year-old had asked to leave and accused him of prioritizing his own interests above those of the team. Amazingly, only three days after Digne’s departure, Benitez himself was out!
Digne had attracted interest from clubs including Chelsea and Newcastle, but says he settled on Villa because of manager Steven Gerrard.
It was the main factor. I came here for the manager. I had a very good meeting with him and we spoke a couple of times during this month. I feel his desire to win - the attacking football, the possession.
Digne is well-known to followers of the Premier League. He’s now 28 years old and in his prime, having enjoyed success at Lille, Paris Saint-Germain (where he spent a year on loan to Roma), and Barcelona.
Everton signed Digne from Barca in the summer of 2018 for £18M under then-manager Marco Silva. He made 127 appearances for the Goodison Park club, scoring six goals and contributing 23 assists. He is also an experienced international, notching six assists in over 40 caps for France.
How Will He Fit In At Villa?
It’s still early days, but it looks like Digne is already a nailed-on starter at left back, relegating Matt Targett to the bench. It’s not hard to see what the attraction is: In his time at Everton, he recorded more assists than any other Everton player and led his team in assists and chances created last season. Since the start of last season only Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have created more clear-cut chances among Premier League defenders.
He put in full shifts in both of the two games he’s played since his his arrival at Villa, and he has already registered his first assist in a Villans shirt in the 1-0 win over... Everton, of course!
Digne has been a fantasy favorite over the past four years for players of both FPL and Fantrax.
In FPL, he is currently the most transferred in player for the week, and has already seen his price rise by £0.1 to £5.1, off the back of his 12 point haul against Everton. This included a full 3 points bonus. Those who’ve already plumped for him will be hoping for more of this, and not the previous week’s zero from the 2-2 draw with Manchester United, where he picked up a yellow card.
His current ownership is 6.8%, the highest among Villa defenders and placing him among the top 20 most popular defenders overall. If Villa can continue to improve, it’s not hard to see Digne getting plenty of both attacking and defending points, and he could soon be in a lot more FPL teams.
In Fantrax, it wasn’t so long ago that Digne was one of the most expensive defenders in the game. This season, though, his price has steadily fallen and he’s currently available at $6.75 in NMA-11 and $4.64 in NMA-17. That price tag is going to rise though, following his 18.5 point haul against Everton. The good news is that he was awarded defender clean sheet points; always a risk with a full-back who likes to get forward (and might therefore be classified as a midfielder instead).
For a lot of fantasy managers, this means it’s decision time. Do you want him as a long-term buy-and-hold? If so, you need to get him now while his price is low. The difficulty at present is that there are a raft of other defenders available for just $1 (including Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier, Watford’s Samir, and Leicester’s James Justin) who are likely to get plenty of game-time, so it’s make your mind up time if you’re looking to set up a long-term defense.
Of course, with the large number of rescheduled games coming, and the resulting double-weeks, it might be wise not to be too focused on discounts, and instead pick based on fixtures (many players would say this is always the way to go). If that is your strategy, then surely whenever Villa have good fixtures, Digne will be well worth considering, especially before his price climbs too high.
Are you considering bringing Digne in? Are you one of the around 80,000 players in FPL who have already done so? Does his not quite rock-bottom price in Fantrax put you off? Let us know in the comments below.
Will you purchase Lucas Digne for your FPL side?
This poll is closed
Yes, right away
Maybe, I want to be sure he’s a 100% nailed-on starter
Not likely unless he scores heavily every week
I already have him!
Will you purchase Lucas Digne for your Fantrax sides?
This poll is closed
Yes, right away
Only when the fixtures look good
I already have him!