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Digne could head to Italy but Chelsea talk brews

| Friday, 30 September 2022 159comments  |  Jump to last
With Vitalii Mykolenko seemingly a rubber-stamp away from becoming an Everton player, Lucas Digne's future appears to very much be up in the air following his reported "falling out" with Rafael Benitez.

The Frenchman appears to have been frozen out by the Spaniard after what was said to have been a training-ground disagreement; the arrival of the young Ukrainian left-back could pave the way for a significant change in that area of the Blues' team.

Digne, who was signed from Barcelona for £18M three years ago, might not have a way back into Benitez's good graces and is being linked with Chelsea, Inter Milan, Napoli and Juventus.

Indeed, a report by Tutto Juve suggests that Everton and Juventus could swap Digne and Aaron Ramsey in reciprocal loan deals until the summer.

Reports in England, however, are centring around Chelsea's interest given their need to draft in a replacement for Ben Chilwell who may need surgery to correct an ACL injury, with talk of Ross Barkley possibly coming back the other wayUpdated .

There have been suggestions that the Londoners want to take Digne on loan until the end of the season but the Daily Star claim that the Blues will only listen to offers that include an obligation to buy in the summer.

Reader Comments (159)

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Vijay Nair
1 Posted 28/12/2021 at 05:36:13
Not sure what the obsession with Aaron Ramsey is. Another over-the-hill player on ridiculous wages is not what we need, whether on loan or permanent.
Alan J Thompson
2 Posted 28/12/2021 at 06:07:07
I had mentioned on another thread that we could look at Digne and Kean to Juve with Ramsey, Arthur and Weston McKennie coming the other way.

If you value Digne (£25M) & Kean (an already agreed £28M?) and they want £25M for Arthur and £20M for McKennie while Ramsey is a free owing to his wages then £5M makes the difference. Everybody happy!?!

I suppose that depends on finding the money for those two full-backs which appears that one could be on the never never (over 3 years?) while the other must be cash upfront.

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 28/12/2021 at 07:40:24
A shame as I've always rated him despite his frustrating and prolonged dip in form. But then that could be applied to the team really.

But with the Ukranian apparently lined up and Nkounkou to come back with what I imagine will have been a decent experience with Liege, this could be inevitably good business for the club and an appropriate parting of ways for player and club in terms of timing.

Andrew Ellams
4 Posted 28/12/2021 at 07:52:18
Please not Aaron Ramsey. He's a 31-year-old injury-prone player on £400k a week.

Jim Lloyd
5 Posted 28/12/2021 at 08:53:02
Since the initial restriction on going the match due to the Covid-19 outbreak, I can't say what Digne was like, except for the clips on Everton TV and the PPV channels on the telly. Before that, though, I thought that Digne had a good first season but was not as effective going forward in the following season.

I think the lad has weakness in defending, and I remember him getting a real roasting off Traore when Wolves whacked us at home in their first season back; and once opposing teams cottoned on to his breaks forward, he's become much less effective in that department.

If he stays, well, he's part of the squad... but, if we can sell him, I think that's good business for our club. Not only have we Nkounkou coming back and hopefully a new fullback coming in, we also have Godfrey who's not done so bad at all at left-back.

I don't know if we'll get the young Rangers right back, but if we do then we begin to look a lot stronger on both sides of defence. But my view on the transfer situation is that we if get these two young full-backs, we'll have to make do and mend until the end of the season (at least!) when we begin to lose some of those expensive players who are neither use nor ornament.

I cannot see Ramsey being brought in (if at all!) on the wages that have been muted. The same goes for Coutinho, should any of the rumours be believed.

Mind you, I thought Coutinho was a top class player when at Liverpool; but, if Barcelona aren't playing him, you'd wonder why?

Well, the thing is, we can't, by the look of it, go shopping at Harrods (or even Woolies!) so I think it will be scouring the "On Loan" department in the car bootie.

Perhaps in the Summer, we can make more changes, but I think that the remainder of this season is about not getting dragged into a relegation fight; and if we can stay mid-table, that'd do me for this season.

Kris Boner
6 Posted 28/12/2021 at 09:37:02
If what Alan has said earlier was the business being done, and the money for Mykolenko and Patterson was in place, then losing Digne would sting a lot less.

Arthur, McKennie, Mykolenko and Patterson would represent a strong reinforcement of half of our team. I had heard that Kusulevski was a possible winger addition instead of Arthur which would also represent good business.

If Newcastle paid good money for Holgate, you could see that money being used on a centre-forward.

Robert Tressell
7 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:03:51
There will probably be a fairly substantial rebuilding job in summer with the sale proceeds from Mina, Richarlison and Kean.

I wouldn't expect much more than Mykolenko and Patterson in January - even if Holgate and Digne leave.

Maybe a loan? Maybe another lower cost signing?

Shame, since I'd love Kulusevki and McKennie at the club - but we really need to be hunting for and developing the younger and much, much cheaper models, like Walemark and Swedberg who are doing so well as teenagers in the Swedish league Kulusevski came from.

Though not ready yet, they could inherit the positions of Townsend and Doucoure in a couple of years.

Pat Kelly
8 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:06:01
If we sign Ramsey, then nothing has been learned.
Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:06:28
McKennie is a good shout Robert. Alongside Doucoure, it would give us a lot more energy and afford Allan a bit more protection. That could work now you mention it.
Robert Tressell
10 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:31:34
It wasn't my shout, Danny, I was replying to Kris #6.

Unless Juve are in very serious financial strife (which they may be with the investigation ongoing) then we probably need to find the new versions of McKennie and Kulusevski.

Really it is all about building a side for the Bramley-Moore Dock era now, there will be no shortcut to success.

Stu Darlington
11 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:48:45
I won't be shedding any tears if Digne does go in January. Not consistent enough for me.

I've seen him hit some good free-kicks and crosses but not nearly often enough and his positional play and defending have cost us dear at times. Not a patch on Bainsey at his best!

Brian Harrison
12 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:52:38
Robert @7

I hope your predictions of selling Mina and Richarlison are wrong but I fear you may be right. I mean someone explain to me why we would sell Digne, Mina and Richarlison when we are sitting 15th in the Premier League, to sell our best attacker, our best defender, and a player who has been selected by all our previous managers.

I know people will point to Mina's injury record and, while I agree it is a worry, surely with our current options to replace him, we are only making the team weaker.

Andrew Ellams
13 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:55:54
Brian @ 12. I guess you could flip that question around and ask why would those players want to play for a club that's 15th in the league? Especially in World Cup year.
Robert Tressell
14 Posted 28/12/2021 at 10:59:19
Brian, Mina's contract expires in June 2022 so we'll probably cash in and there will be takers. Branthwaite is our future now.

As for Richarlison, I think he would have gone last summer had Covid-19 not hit the market. The emergence of Gray and Gordon should lessen the blow but we need to reinvest in our very limited attack.

The players are always out there.

Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 28/12/2021 at 11:20:21
Having watched him, and this post making me think, he's probably exactly the type of player we need and who the crowd would warm to Kris & Robert.

Energetic, hard working and versatile. He's even played centre back. The holding midfielder / sweeper that I keep banging on about to close the gap?

Still only 23 as well.

Dave Hutchinson
16 Posted 28/12/2021 at 11:20:27
I think Mina's contract runs until summer 2023?
Steve Brown
17 Posted 28/12/2021 at 11:41:06
Not sure we should be so casual about letting players like Digne, Richarlison and Mina depart the club. We are already seriously short of quality in this squad.

There will also be a number of players departing at the end of their contract that should create space on the wage bill - Tosun, the Nameless One, Delph, Kenny etc.

Ajay Gopal
18 Posted 28/12/2021 at 11:42:51
Newcastle is rumoured to be a possible destination for Digne, but obviously Digne wouldn't want to play in the Championship next season, so their results in the next few games (not counting our game which obviously we will win!) will be crucial in that decision.

I don't see the point or logic of a swap between Digne and Ramsey – very different players, different positions and different stages in their careers. I see that Sevilla are in for Martial on loan with no option or obligation to buy. Surely he should be an option that we should be considering. If he can bring in 5-6 goals, that alone would be worth paying his wages.

Ideally, sell Digne for cash (~£20 million) and use that money to buy the Ukranian lad. On the right-back front, my thoughts have changed to giving Kenny an opportunity to prove himself until summer – he gave a decent account of himself when asked to against Chelsea. Otherwise, we dip into the market then.

I have a sneaky feeling that Benitez may make an effort to get Koulibaly in – given his past history with the player at Napoli – with possibly Mina going in the opposite direction.

Clive Rogers
19 Posted 28/12/2021 at 12:34:05
I can't see any established players like Koulibaly wanting to come to us, the state we are in. It will be unknowns with potential, like the left-back we are linked with.
Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 28/12/2021 at 13:19:13
Stop teasing me with Koulibaly Ajay.
Tony Everan
21 Posted 28/12/2021 at 13:31:53
Mina is contracted until June 2023, Richarlison, June 2024

I wouldn’t want to see anyone leave in January, but Digne’s situation is coming across as irretrievable. There’s mentions of loan deals for him from Inter and Chelsea. I don’t really get this at all unless was it is a loan with an onto buy at 25m or whatever the valuation is. I mean what if he gets badly injured in May, then send him back.

I’d also like us to be trying to sign McKennie if Juve are after Digne. Or even if they’re not, but probably a long shot.

Joe Digney
22 Posted 28/12/2021 at 13:54:57
Apparently we are happy to accept a loan with obligation to buy with the payment coming before June 30th.
Also talk of Barkley coming back on loan probably see digne going to Chelsea with Barkley coming back.
David Pearl
23 Posted 28/12/2021 at 14:29:59
All crap to me. Looking at Digne, l wonder what the argument was like? "Hey FSW why did you play a high line for the first time all season against the RS? Leaving moi isolated with Salad running at me and tearing me a new one? You don't know what you're doing.

We can only hope this new kid coming in hits the ground running

Fran Mitchell
24 Posted 28/12/2021 at 14:33:06
Why loan out Digne? Really?

Unless it comes with an obligation to buy, injuries or whatever, I really don't get why.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 28/12/2021 at 14:35:05
I think he’s been trying to play a higher line for ages David, but football is always about the players imo, mate?
Robert Tressell
26 Posted 28/12/2021 at 14:38:19
Sorry, yes, Mina is 2023. The reason I think we'll sell in summer is that it's the last chance to get a fee.
Tom Bowers
27 Posted 28/12/2021 at 14:43:55
The flack is always flying at Everton with rumours abounding about player spats and alarming drops in form.

We may not know the truth regarding them and may only find out when certain players and managers write their memoirs and even then is it the real truth. Nobody will blame themselves.

Digne looked very good for a while then like so many players this season have been sub-standard never mind the injuries.

Surely the new year will see a big improvement all around.

The next crop of fixtures seem to give Everton the opportunity to get some decent points at least on paper.

Although all games are tough the next really tough one will be City again at the end of January.

They are without doubt the best club in Britain and one can't help admire them. Money helps of course but they can be beaten on the rare occasion.

The next few weeks needs to see Everton get enough points to get back to a solid mid-table position before that City game.

Aaron Ramsey would do okay on a free for a season but that's all.

Christy Ring
28 Posted 28/12/2021 at 14:44:33
Chilwell out for the season, rumours of a loan swap, Digne for Barkley, would definitely offer an attacking threat and his passing game would suit DCL. I wonder could we include Iwobi to sweeten the deal!
Kris Boner
29 Posted 28/12/2021 at 15:41:28
The way I view it is as follows based on rumours that I’ve read:

Digne is out the door so best get the money required for losing a player who will be very good in a top team. £25 million in is realistic ask.

Myko is on the way in for approx £17m last check. You are trading years on a contract for a future. Fine, I don’t necessarily like that it happened because Rafa is a knob but okay.

Patterson at right back is a necessity and the remainder from Digne should cover it if you get that £25m. Don’t know where the money for Myko is coming for without either.

Holgate out the door should be something we can live with as Jarrod is a talent that can replace him. Still leaving us with 4. (3.5 if you look at Mina that way.) given the contract situation I would look to trade up on Mina in the summer.

Any money we get for Holgate, and any spare should be invested in the 19-25 age range that McKennie/Kusulevski/other category fulfil. A midfielder with an engine, a winger with goal/assist output, a striker with a similar profile to DCL would all be welcome.

Fran Mitchell
30 Posted 28/12/2021 at 16:28:50
Those advocating Barkley on loan. Has anyone seen him recently? Shadow of what he could have been.

Look at Villa fanboards/Twitter last season, and Chelsea this season any time Barkley plays and they read similar to ours when Iwobi plays.

Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 28/12/2021 at 16:46:34
Alan J and Danny, sorry, not a chance in hell McKennie would be interested in coming to us. He'll want at least a chance of CL football, which we can't offer. I wish we'd gone after him a couple of years ago from Schalke. Now rumored headed to Spurs for $40 million. He'll be an instant mainstay for Conte.

Ajay #18, you do love that Koulibaly daydream, don't you? Again, no chance. Team leader and fan favorite for a club having an excellent season. And he's gonna leave for a bottom-half team in England? Never in the world.

Fran Mitchell
32 Posted 28/12/2021 at 17:13:09
In terms of those talking of McKennie (someone who personally, seems a bit overrated imo) and Koulibaly - exactly not the players were gonna get, nor need

These would be commanding big fees, massive wages, and a mentality not what we need.

We need players looking to prove themselves, accepting to join a club in the bottom half and striving to drive us forward. Not players who will be chatting with their agents the minute it becomes clear we ain't getting to the top-6/4.

Young players proven from the championship, and Europe's 'b-leagues' and young players looking for a chance from the 'big' clubs.

Derek Knox
33 Posted 28/12/2021 at 18:07:28
Fran @ 32, totally agree mate, look what happened when we did get a truly World Class player in James ? His alleged wages must have caused some derision among the greedy, hardly anyone was on his wavelength when he did play, and on that point, how often was he available ?

Let's close that fantasy chapter, and look at reality, as you so succinctly highlighted. We can't turn the Clock, or the Water Under The Bridge back, so please, please let us learn from past mistakes and unbalanced, overpaid players making up the squad.

If Holgate is indeed a target for Newcastle (prayers do come true, if he is) let's try and get Almiron as part of the deal. Forget that he looks like Peter Lorre's lovechild, he is a grafter, doesn't shirk responsibility, and has much needed energy and a chance of goals from midfield.

Let's (hopefully try and get a squad (eventually) of good but not too high profile players, who are willing to put in a good shift.

Joe O’Brien
34 Posted 28/12/2021 at 18:10:24
Sad to see Digne go tbh.. but I'll be devastated if he's involved in any way with a swap deal with Barkley.
What a major major backwards step that would be. Please god no.
Steve Brown
35 Posted 28/12/2021 at 18:32:04
From Ancelotti, James and Digne to Benitez, Rondon and Barkley. All in six months.

Very Everton that.

Jay Evans
36 Posted 28/12/2021 at 18:59:41
Well, if the Villa/Chelsea fan boards AND Twitter say Barkley is crud then it must be true.

He would have a serious point to prove if he came back here but I can’t see it happening. Match going blues (who sat by me at the time) couldn’t wait to see the back of him and let him know that in no uncertain terms every time he took a corner.

No wonder he fucked off and had us with our kecks down and I for one don’t blame him for doing so. Also, the comparison with Iwobi is just embarrassing.

I’m not advocating Barkley’s return by the way, far from it. I think he’s much to fond of the ale now.

However, even with a hangover, could he be much worse than some of the jokers who are stealing a living with us at the moment ?

Allan Board
37 Posted 28/12/2021 at 19:44:49
Sick of older mercenaries being bought by Everton, just buy young quick lads for all over the pitch and coach them up for a couple of year's.
Face facts, Everton are not buying their way into the top 6.
At least Everton would have a team we could call ours then.
Get rid of the garbage that's been holding this club back for decades.
Brian Wilkinson
38 Posted 28/12/2021 at 20:26:49
Digne was a great attacking left back, offered a lot on the left going forward, his form has dipped long before our new Manager came in, this season and most of last season, I would say being generous he has been just about average.

Take out his attacking and judge him as a left back, then I would say he has been well below average at defending.

I like Digne because he offers Everton something going forward, but at the same time you want your left back to be strong when on the backfoot.

Elsewhere teams may give Digne the luxury of attacking, but Benitez wants a left back that is strong defending, I can see where the Manager is coming from, get the defence stronger.

No doubting Digne is still a quality player, whether he stays or goes, I am 60/40 in favour of moving now while his stock is still high.

If we nail the left and right spot in January, and they both gel, then we can sort the midfield out, in the summer, when more funds will be available.

I can see us landing a right back, left back already sorted,and reckon any further incoming will be loans, to see us through the season.

Tony Twist
39 Posted 28/12/2021 at 21:02:06
Poor defensively, we need to milk the sale for as much as possible. £30M plus, Chelsea now desperate.
James O'Connell
40 Posted 29/12/2021 at 02:25:47
£30 million plus Lukaku
David Pearl
41 Posted 29/12/2021 at 02:44:14
Brian, you are right of course but he is so much better if he has a partner on that left hand side
Paul Ward
42 Posted 29/12/2021 at 05:07:57
It makes me laugh to see all these fickle fans who did not want Benitez under any circumstances now supporting the prick.
He has pushed out the DOF, some of the medical staff, now Digne. Who is next?
The red Echo had an article last week quoting I think 13 players he had forced out of the ranks of the rs.
The FSW is a dictator who creates mayhem then leaves.
Derek Moore
43 Posted 29/12/2021 at 05:44:19
I always liked Barkley and thought the stick he got was absolutely unwarranted. And at one stage at least, there was a potentially a very very good player in there.

But this is Everton, and we don't do triumphant returns. I hope Barkley works it out but it won't be here. Need to find somebody else.

Kieran Kinsella
44 Posted 29/12/2021 at 06:08:35
Paul Ward

Not sure anyone is fully behind “this prick” but I think it’s more of case of hoping for the best as he’s evidently won the boardroom battle. There was a Kieran Magiuire interview today saying Everton couldn’t sack him due to either we hope for the best, or we assume things will get even worse. What’s better for your mental health mate?

Christine Foster
45 Posted 29/12/2021 at 07:51:22
The echo are reporting that Ross Barkley could be on his way back on loan. Honestly think that's a bad move for club and player given the circumstances of his departure. He hasn't done well on loan and is not part of Chelsea's plans. Probably join Jack Rodwell down under or make a go of it in the US. Be surprised and disappointed if we went after him now, think he burnt his bridges. In fairness he was treated shabbily by Koeman but
Mind you, rumor has it we are looking at Ramsey.. another bad option, hard to chose between the two of them..
Frank Sheppard
46 Posted 29/12/2021 at 08:07:11
Seems I’m in a minority, but Barkley would imo improve our attacking midfield options.
Derek Thomas
47 Posted 29/12/2021 at 08:13:33
Not sure is Barkley's Fatwah has been lifted yet - I hope it stays for a few more years.

Jay @ 36; "...However, even with a hangover, could he be much worse than some of the jokers who are stealing a living with us at the moment ?"

Oh yes indeed - just as bad in a different way probably

Danny O’Neill
48 Posted 29/12/2021 at 08:18:41
Fran & Derek, I'm in agreement on looking for up and coming but slightly already proven talent in the leagues throughout Europe. A lot of clubs have used that strategy to good effect and not having to spend the earth to get it and, if necessary, then make a profit off it. But there's nothing wrong with sprinkling a bit of experience over that too in my opinion. A bit - don't go one way or the other; balance it.

On Barkley, I'm torn. Watching him when he came on against Chelsea, I turned to the person next to me and said I'd have him in this team tomorrow.

But there's the old adage about never going back. There's bad blood. Okay there was with Rooney, but time was the healer there. And also, if we believe the media stories, wasn't there off-pitch issues with him in the City too?

Like I say, torn, because as a footballer, he is probably a very useful addition to this current squad. Which shows how little we have progressed since he left.

But the number 10 we need? That's where I'd play him. The irony considering that transfer window not so long ago when we bought about 6 of them!!!!

Michael Connelly
49 Posted 29/12/2021 at 08:45:47
A lot of the customary angst toward Benitez in the posts above. If the club hadn't wasted so much over the last 5 seasons, we wouldn't be in a position where we have to wheel and deal, and Digne could be kept on. However, if his sale allows us to purchase a better defensive left back (and younger), and a better than what we have right back, then that seems logical to me. Although his crossing and build up play is excellent, defensively he is weak, which gets highlighted when Godfrey fills in for him

I doubt if there has been a 'falling out' between Benitez and Digne. There is a good chance that an offer came in for him earlier this month, which the club accepted with a view to using the funds to improve the squad overall, and he is being omitted to avoid injury. .

At least the cancellations mean that we do not need to listen to Benitez bullshit his way through the press conferences, as to why Digne is not being selected to play, like he did with James earlier this season.

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 29/12/2021 at 09:01:37
Kieran (43), I hope Benitez wins the boardroom battle, don’t think it is over yet, there is a mini battle going on at the moment.
Colin Glassar
51 Posted 29/12/2021 at 09:07:03
My only wish for the New Year is that any outgoings or incomings include Iwobi.

Up until last night, I thought Iwobi was probably the worst player in the prem but Leicester’s, Soumare can now share that dubious honour.

As for Digne, I like the lad but he’s been poor this calendar year and it would be nice to have a fullback who can defend ie stop crosses.

Sam Hoare
52 Posted 29/12/2021 at 09:12:41
Digne is an excellent left back, hence the high quality suitors, and his defensive flaws are much exaggerated on here.

He has been one of our best players since he arrived even if his form has declined this year.

He will be missed but selling good players in their late 20s makes good business sense, better to get your money back with some profit to re-invest than preside over a players decline into a unsellable high wage earner.

Hopefully someone rich might find £25m to buy Digne this January but a loan with obligation to buy might work also. I’d not be that surprised if he hung around till the summer especially as Mykolenko will need time to adjust.

The likes of Ramsay and Barkley are not attractive though both could offer something if the deal was right, which it’s not likely to be. Names like Koulibaly and Mckennie are pipe dreams given our current financial and footballing position. If we sell a big name this summer (Richarlison?) then perhaps there will be money to spend.

If we are selling Digne with Mykolenko coming in (£17m is overpriced in my opinion) then it makes sense to get a RB too; Paterson for £6-9m is interesting (though Calvin Ramsay may be better value). After that I’d imagine a loan or Demarai Gray-esque bargain. We lack central midfielders with dynamism (bar Doucoure) and could use a younger Barkley type player; Golovin from Monaco is handy but won’t be cheap. I’d not be that surprised to see Ross himself given one last opportunity, so long as there was no loan fee it would be a very low risk if unpopular move.

Robert Tressell
53 Posted 29/12/2021 at 09:26:16
Danny, on that 'slightly already proven' category from European leagues - seems strange to me just how much we've neglected that market.

Given the status and finances of our club - where is our recruitment from France, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands where talent is cheap and comes on a conveyor belt? Beyond that, Scotland and Scandinavia and Eastern Europe where it is cheaper still.

I am racking my brains for who we have bought in the u23 age category (or indeed any category) from these reliable markets which serve clubs in England, Germany, Italy and Spain so well - and helped clubs with less resources than us to do good things.

Maybe Mirallas, Fellaini, Oviedo and Klaasen but struggling to think of others (I'm sure there must be others).

If you add to that we've also neglected the very good value offered in North America (since Moyes), South America (since Funes Mori) and Asia (altogether) then it highlights a really unimaginative approach to recruitment and a lack of keeping up with peers across Europe.

Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 29/12/2021 at 09:27:32
Dave Abrahams @49,

The manager seems like a dog with a bone.

I don't swear often in public, but he appears to have come into the club and thought "what the fuck is going on here".

Regardless of what people think of him, myself included, he has managed several of Europe's biggest and most successful clubs. And he is a master of taking the emotion out of it, which is what we have needed for a long time. Otherwise you could have put me in charge.

We might just learn off him. He might just create the disruption we need that causes change. Even if his stay is only 2 or 3 years until we march to Bramley Moore Dock.

Steve Shave
55 Posted 29/12/2021 at 09:32:54
Selling Digne makes perfect sense to me. Selling players at his age for more than we paid and buying young, hungry players with a point to prove and high potential is exactly the model we should be aiming for. I make it sound easy, of course it's not but look at the Dortmund and Leipzig models of recruitment, impressive.

I recognise that Barkley splits opinion, I for one would take him on loan (always liked him) and believe he would have a point to prove. Personally I would rather have Van De Beek on a loan to buy. I fear however this is out of our price range, I laugh at some of the suggestions on here, Koulibaly seriously? Why in buggery would he want to come to us? We are in a mess (we can't even say transition, Arsenal are in transition, our situation still constitutes as a mess I'm afraid).

We need to build around the likes of Branthwaite, Dobbin, Onyango and Gordon mostly because of the financial situation we find ourselves in. Let's give them time on the pitch, allow them to learn from mistakes (many on here won't allow this of course) and start using Moshiri's money how we should have done since day one. For me, I would be looking at signing the Patterson's and Brennan Johnson's of this world all day long.

Robert Tressell
56 Posted 29/12/2021 at 10:06:28
Danny, I think Koeman and Ancelotti also had their 'what the **** is going on here' moments and both more or less gave up.

Like them Benitez is experienced enough to know what a well run club looks like. And it's nothing like Everton.

Whether he's successful in changing things, only time will tell - but at least he is trying.

Steve Shave
57 Posted 29/12/2021 at 10:14:07
Agree Rob 55 - he is trying and we should "try" to get behind him. It's so short-sighted of fans to jump on the back of the manager when it has been plainly obvious for a long time that the problems in the club go much higher up and are far more deeply entrenched. If we can survive this period with some key players returning from injury, alongside the blooding of some youngsters and additions of potential and hunger, then we might just get through this shit show. We are not sacking Benitez so we just have to get behind him. Its still the Everton "project" but it looks alot different to the one under that golf playing prick Koeman.
Mick O'Malley
58 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:21:24
I’d have Barclay back in a heartbeat, better than anything we’ve got masquerading as midfielders, and he’s got a goal or two in him
Danny O’Neill
59 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:22:11
It really surprised me Robert that with Brands' native background, we didn't leverage the Dutch, Belgian, German and Danish leagues.

From my seat (to coin a much loved and respected phrase on here), too many cooks in the kitchen, too much interference and a total lack of transfer strategy.

The closest we came to having anything resembling a decent window was summer 2020. A blend of young potential (Godfrey & Nkounko), experience (Allan) guile & the ability to deliver moments of brilliance (James Rodriguez) and a relatively unknown, but something we needed (Doucoure). And then much needed backup and competition for the keeper (Olsen), which seems to have had a hopefully lasting positive impact on Jordan Pickford.

Prior to that we approached transfers like Harry Enfield's 1980s Loads of Money character. Literally throwing it around with not a care in the world or where it was going. We must have been an agent's dream and might as well have set fire to it.

But back to your point. Why we are not tapping those north-western European markets up more is beyond me. Likewise, North America. I believe there is a lot of talent out there.

Without wanting to go down old arguments, maybe it's the Finch Farm culture we need to change. We seem to be sitting and waiting for the next Croxteth born Wayne Rooney to happen. For the Everton equivalent of the class of 92 to suddenly appear from Huyton.

People who have bothered reading and listening to me know how much I care about grass roots and in particular, local talent. But at first team level, we have seriously been missing a trick or seven.

Blend. A blend of bringing on young talent, combining it with spotting good talent elsewhere and then making astute signings of experienced players alongside them.

Nick Page
60 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:30:48
Mick #58 I’d have him back too but I think it has to be for the right reasons and not anything to do with BPB and teary sentiment. What would we be willing to pay?
Mick O'Malley
61 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:35:51
Nick agreed about BPB. I’d have him back as he retains possession can pass the ball and has a goal in him, say £15 million?
Nick Page
62 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:43:23
I’d happily pay £15m Mick. He’s the creativity in midfield we’re lacking and would provide a much better link to DCL and Richarlison. We also need more goals from midfield like you say.
Watched a bit of the shite game as was out with wife and kids - always amazes me how they play and no one counters it. It’s basically whack it forward with some loopy cross/pass and everyone chase the fuck out of it and pressure the defence facing their own goal. And score. Call it what you like, gegenpress, heavy metal football, whatever. The real trick is getting the players to buy into it and do it (and provide the dodgy nutrition to do it). Have to hand it to the cry-arsing two faced German whingebag, turning so many average players into world beaters is quite a feat.
Andrew Keatley
63 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:50:25
Time to offload Digne for good if Mykolenko is on his way in. There are plenty of clubs who need a decent left-back - Chelsea, Man City and Juventus for starters - so I’d like to see if we can actually use the opportunity to get a decent fee now rather than let the dust settle over the summer and Digne’s availability become less appealing.

As for Barkley… it’s a hard pass from me. We need players who are going to work hard defensively and keep the ball moving - and neither of those are Barkley’s strengths.

Brian Williams
64 Posted 29/12/2021 at 11:55:10
Is this the same Barkley that people want back who Villa let go, the same Villa that finished four points behind a shit Everton, the same Villa for who Barkley didn't manage a goal for in the last fourteen matches of the season, and scored a total of three in twenty four appearances?
Is it the same Barkley that's scored four in fifty four appearances for Chelsea, a team full of superstars?
I have some maaaaaaaagic beans for sale. :-)
Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 29/12/2021 at 12:16:47
Give them Luca Digne, just as long as they agree to give us Billy Gilmore once he’s finished his spell at Norwich,maybe? (Apologies if this has already been mentioned on this thread)
Robert Tressell
66 Posted 29/12/2021 at 12:19:14
I like Barkley because he's capable of a bit of magic - but it's all too infrequent unfortunately. Another attacking midfielder, John Swift of Reading, is out of contract in summer and has 17 goal contributions in 21 games for Reading this season. He deserves a chance at a higher level (like Grimes at Swansea). Otherwise, the foreign market offers many players of great talent, low cost and good value.
Ian Bennett
67 Posted 29/12/2021 at 12:20:20
No I wouldn't want Barkley. If we ever want to move forward, we need to buy players with fire in their belly. Players that will fight to take their career and us forward.

We have recruited badly previously in terms of value for money, technical ability, pace, age, resale value, and lastly character.

£15m and £120k a week for Barkley would show we have learnt nothing. No resale value, poor attitude, poor delivery, poor injury record. Would a Leipzeg etc buy him? Would they fuck.

Fran Mitchell
68 Posted 29/12/2021 at 12:30:48
Barkley has been shockingly bad for a while yet.

His biggest issue is that he goes missing. He just offers nothing, combativeness, no desire. He can put a decent pass here and there, but that's it

Our biggest issue in midfield is how easily we get overrun. We need players who will battle and take a game by the scruff.

Barkley is absolutely not what we need.

Shaun Laycock
69 Posted 29/12/2021 at 12:38:54
Selling a player who has given us a service, for more than we paid for him, replacing him with a younger version, with some cash to redevelop the squad further, seem like a sensible model to me. It was the one I wanted Brands to deliver (that's another story)...
I thinks we have enough in our squad to get us through until next summer as the Jan transfer window is notoriously difficult to find value in. Rebuild when the frees are released and FFP is slowly disappearing in the rear-view mirror.
Gone are the days of a one club man; the players are a commodity. They provide a service for a fee, and then move on to the next payday. We need to get out our heads around that we will ever retain players long enough to build a squad around - football is constantly evolving, so should we! There are plenty of examples of this around the European Leagues.
Robert Tressell
70 Posted 29/12/2021 at 13:54:44
Barkley is probably best suited now to helping Newcastle get out of the Championship - before inevitably being replaced by equally talented but more resilient players as they transition to a top Premier League club over the next 5 years.

Ian @67, you're right, Leipzig wouldn't be remotely interested. Asking, 'would Leipzig buy this player' is not a bad way to sense check recruitment.

For our stage of development / limited budget, you might also ask 'would David Moyes buy this player'.

The former helps plan for the long term around Champions League potential youth. The latter helps rebuild a best of the rest type side in the short to medium term.

Ian Horan
71 Posted 29/12/2021 at 14:09:27
If we are considering Barkley we should ask Chelsea how much? They state £15 mill we then offer £7 mill as that's what happened as he left us was it a fee of £30 mill in August only for us to accept £15 mill in January. I am feed up of Everton being rinsed on buying and selling players we need to buy cheap and sell high!!!! Similarly Digne only goes for a fee to cover the Ukrainian lb and Patterson, get Digne agent to work for his client and us, world cup coming up Digne needs first team football to keep his place in the French squad
On the plus side Iwobi is off to Afcon for January. Happy New Year Blues
Tony Abrahams
72 Posted 29/12/2021 at 14:26:19
I’m just glad that we don’t have to release players until the 3rd January with regards Iwobi, who will hopefully have a glorious tournament and be sold to the highest bidder, whilst away on international duty.
Alan J Thompson
73 Posted 29/12/2021 at 14:37:46
All these managers who have been and seen how big clubs are run should know that it is never helped if people in responsible but lesser positions try and take on that for which they are not employed, have no authority to intercede or wherewithal to remove those problems, they merely add to the problems. But then I don't suppose Arsenal and Everton are classed as "big" clubs, or is it that every club has one on the Board.
Don Alexander
74 Posted 29/12/2021 at 16:45:54
Just what people see in Ross Barkley is beyond me.

Very very occasionally in some seasons he does something very remarkable but, for almost all of the rest of the time, he's anonymous and, worse to me, anonymous by choice.

I take no pleasure in deeming him weak-willed (possibly as a result of the terrible leg break he got in his junior years) but he shirks tackles and any sort of physical confrontation. He's therefore not at all what we need.

It's bad enough having his dreadlocked doppelganger here already.

Bill Gienapp
75 Posted 29/12/2021 at 16:59:45
If Mykolenko can cut it in the Premier League, this seems like good business – particularly given Digne's recent dip in form, and the fact he's not getting any younger.

On the other hand, I find it a bit worrisome that one of our top players (and Vice Captain no less) basically gets frozen out and shipped off for so much as questioning Benitez's tactics.

If we were winning, or he had genuine credit in the bank, the "my way or the highway" approach would be easier to get behind, but the jury's still out on whether we're being led off a cliff by a buffoon.

Barkley on loan would be relatively harmless business, but his issue has always been confidence and consistency, neither of which have improved during his years away. But he might chip in a couple of much-needed goals from midfield.

Richard Duff
76 Posted 29/12/2021 at 18:51:52
Bill at 75, I give Benitez the benefit of the doubt as an experienced Premier League manager, dealing within a unique business model with its own ecosystem of ideals, practices, norms and behaviours.

But, in my world, a “manager” ostracising a key asset to show control would be right up in front of the Board to be reminded of their duty to protect the interests of the stakeholders, owners and fans. They're not here to boost their own egos.

Maybe that was Brands's view too?

Mike Gaynes
77 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:11:40
Richard #76...

If it was just about ego and showing control, I'd agree with you. But we don't know that to be the case here.

It's the manager's job to dictate how he wants the players to play -- and many will sit them down if they can't or won't. The "my-way-or-the-highway" thing.

We'll likely never know how much of the falling-out between Benitez and Digne was about footballing differences, and how much was about clashing egos.

Tony Everan
78 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:20:28
I've not seen Barkley do enough for Chelsea for us to be interested. We do need a midfielder in January but not a Gomes or Iwobi type. We've already got more than our fair share of slowish non-tackling midfielders.

We need better quality than Barkley, and one with a more tenacious combative skill set. I'm thinking of a Gana or Kante type of young midfielder to play with Allan, either side of Doucouré in a midfield three, fighting for possession, feeding Richarlison, Gordon or Gray and allowing the excellent Doucoure more freedom to burst forward and support attacks.

I think the signing of this midfielder will then see us controlling games better. Rather than being permanently on the back foot. Control has to be fought for and I think we are missing a midfield fighter who can also play a bit too.

We have to create a midfield that allows us to exploit Doucoure's goal threat. He's a 10-goal plus midfielder in the right set-up.

John Chambers
79 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:35:10
If we can get Mykolenko and Patterson for the equivalent of any fee for Digne, I would see that as decent business. Presumably this would also mean Kenny moving on so we may make a small profit.

Also, anyone know how Nkounkou is doing at Liege? 12 months ago, everyone was very excited about him at left-back.

Jim Lloyd
80 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:37:39
If we're selling him, and in my view, that looks a good deal to get this young lad in; but, to me, it makes more sense in our situation to get the money for him. He's a saleable asset – assuming someone buys him, that is!

I don't know that Benitez ostracised him or whether he wouldn't or couldn't do what our manager wanted him to do. I don't know whether against Chelsea, he was sick (or wouldn't play?) but he may well want to leave. Who knows?

Digne had a really good first season, though Traore tore him to shreds when Wolves beat us in their first season back in the Premier League.

After that season, I think he became less and less effective at getting crosses into the box, and I didn't see him as a top defender either.

Anyway, as a "professional" footballer, he was there to play to best of his ability to the manager's style of play. If he won't or can't, then there's no point in keeping him. I think Godfrey is a much stronger and faster player, so I'm happy enough to see him in the full-back roll... or anywhere in our defence, or maybe even midfield.

David Bromwell
81 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:39:15
Yes Tony, 78, let's forget about Barkley, a big talent but far too many other issues. We clearly need another quality midfielder, and we would be better to watch playing with a midfield three.

My understanding was that Rafa was keen on bringing in Longstaff from Newcastle maybe in exchange for Tom Davies or Mason Holgate?

As always, the transfer market is a bit of a gamble and in recent years we have had more losses than winners. Let's hope Rafa has a little black book full of potential winners.

Steve Brown
82 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:44:07
Interesting that signing Mykolenko and Patterson is seen as a good bit of business, when it is evident that many of us don't have a clue about their quality when compared to Digne.

The fact that Chelsea, Juventus and Inter may be interested in Digne doesn't surprise me – he is the left-back in the French national team. I hope the signings pay off for sure, but there is a feeling of blind optimism about this…

Richard Duff
83 Posted 29/12/2021 at 19:49:26
Mike at 77.

Totally respect your point (and most you make on this site) and indeed it may be that Digne has made himself “unplayable “ but based on how Benitez has conducted himself in the past as a Mr Big, I have my reservations that yet again.

Everton will be getting rid of a superb player with great pedigree (and the right age etc…) on the whim of an insecure manager with a short shelf-life.

Tony Hill
84 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:00:11
Digne has been poor for 2 years and has lived off credit from his first 12 months. Benitez has called him out.

Steve @82, of course most of us don't know enough about Mykolenko and Patterson; that's because we're not scouts. If we're buying them out of blind optimism, then that would be absurd. I strongly suspect that is not so.

Paul Smith
85 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:02:38
If Digne finds his form elsewhere, it’s a mistake surely.

If not, it’s good bit of business, as long as the replacements hit the ground running.

Benitez does what he wants and gives no fucks.

Joe McMahon
86 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:09:15
Tony, I agree: mainly awful for 2 years. He also has looked disinterested for a long time.

I welcome him being moved on. He seemed like a different player when he first arrived.

Paul Swan
87 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:16:51
Our biggest problem for several seasons now is we allow too many crosses into our box from both the left and right side of our defence. This is a disaster when you combine this with any combination of centre-halves who have a tendency to ball-watch and not read the game.

Dinge has been particularly at fault for this for almost the entire time he has been here. Take away his forward runs and set-piece plays, which have disappeared for many many games now, and he is shown up as the liability he is for us.

Put him in a team where the entire defence and midfield works as a unit, he will thrive. This is not us. Sell and use the money better.

Jim Lloyd
88 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:17:25
Paul, the problem is his form with us. If he goes and does well in a slower league, I'd be happy for him; but I *hope!* we don't see him as a regular full back for Everton any more. I think he's been found out; and his weaknesses are not going to go away.

If we can't sell him or, second best, loan him out, then obviously, we're stuck with him.

If it's true that we have all but signed Mykolenko, then we have Godfrey who can do a good job there if the lad needs time to adjust. Equally, we need a right-back and the if the sale goes through, then we might be able to afford the lad from Rangers.

We don't need telling that Seamus is losing it, and I'd hope he could be around to fill in as and when, rather than, see him failing in front of us.

Tony Hill
89 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:23:46
Paul @87, a point – failing to stop crosses – often made on here by Harold Matthews. He was right and so are you, though I'm not sure it's been our biggest problem.
Mike Gaynes
90 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:24:19
John #79, Nkounkou has played almost every available minute for Standard Liege, mostly at LB but occasionally at LM. He has no goals or assists yet. I found an article a month ago that said that after a rough start he had really grown into his role in the team.

And the young man is certainly learning lessons about surviving rough times. Liege, a traditional Belgian power, is having an absolutely miserable season.

Mike Gaynes
91 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:34:19
Richard #83, that's always a concern when selling off a quality player in his prime -- and make no mistake, Digne is quality. I won't be at all surprised if he bounces back to top form in a better club.

What struck me most about this situation, however, was how well Godfrey replaced him. In his first game at left-back after Digne's exile, Godfrey gave us more in both attack and defense than Digne had at any point this season. He was electrifying at times.

And while I've only seen Mykolenko play once, I think he is just the sort of player we should be transitioning to -- younger, faster, and considerably less expensive at the pay window every week than the man he'll be replacing.

Tony Hill
92 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:49:40
Mykolenko, on my YouTube evidence, has a fairly remarkable tackling style which seems to rely on instinctive timing. On the same evidence, he looks quick and strong.
James Flynn
93 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:55:01
Must be forgetting how often Barkley was "masquerading as a midfielder" across his career.

And his hamstring bursting when it did is the reason we didn't get the fee we thought we could/should. Chelsea wasn't going to sign him pre-surgery for anything like his player-market value at the time. And they could always say post-surgery, and likely did, "We're taking all the risk on his injury recurring."

So we got what we could, £15 million, instead of watching him leave for free a year later. There's plenty of good examples of Club ineptitude. The Barkley deal isn't one of them.

He turned 28 a couple weeks ago. Experience- and age-wise, Ross is sitting dead center of his prime years. Yet, the most he ever produced (by far) was with us, when he was still learning his trade.

He's pretty much been a failure or a fringe player at Chelsea and they've been trying to dump him for a while now. 5 years on, £15 million looking pretty good business for a player turned out to be a talented bust.

Mike Gaynes
94 Posted 29/12/2021 at 20:56:11
That much he is, Tony. I mentioned before that when I saw him last month against Bayern, he several times ran stride-for-stride with Kingsley Coman, one of the fastest players on earth, and didn't lose an inch of ground.

But I don't recall much else about him.

Tony Hill
95 Posted 29/12/2021 at 21:06:54
Yeah, an interesting fella by the looks of it, Mike. Maybe we will find out if he has substance.
Barry Rathbone
96 Posted 29/12/2021 at 21:42:17
Digne is a good player – far too good for this set up one of the few I would keep and build around.

I suspect the initial excitement generated by the sales patter getting him here has vanished with ensuing reality and dismay at how monumentally shit this club is. Nothing as demotivating as starting a new job full of optimism only to find it's the same or worse than the last place a few months down the line.

Happens a lot at this club but doubtless his mojo will return at a professionally run outfit. Benitez better get his replacement right – big gamble for the Caldy dweller.

Tony Abrahams
97 Posted 29/12/2021 at 21:55:31
If Digne does find the form he had when he first came to Everton, this doesn't mean Benitez was wrong in letting him go, if he does eventually leaves imo.

Anyone who's got the time can look back at Ancelotti's last game, a 5-0 defeat to be precise. Davies tries to switch the ball out wide to Digne, but it goes out of play, leaving our left-back shaking his head and puffing his cheeks.

Ten minutes later, Allan tries the same ball with exactly the same consequences, except our left-back is totally different, shouting at our Brazilian midfielder, until he turns to look, and then he got a 👍 which told me all's I need to know, unfortunately.

I heard Benitez wasn't fussed on Digne from what he witnessed when he arrived, and I'm sure this was replicated by at least half the Everton crowd, because one thing that I've heard quite often this season, is the left-back has been getting away with murder because there hasn't been any competition for his place.

Tony Hill
98 Posted 29/12/2021 at 22:40:56
Barry @96, you seem to share Digne's view that he's too good for the club. How is that going to help us? Normally you're sensible but that's absolute nonsense.

Brian Wilkinson
99 Posted 29/12/2021 at 23:18:18
Got to hand it to Benitez – he might be stubborn at times but I'm liking his ruthlessness: Brands out, Digne out, skin like a rhino, certainly making other players sit up and take notice.

I can only assume he is trying to get Iwobi in the shop window but, let's face it, he has targeted a right- and left-back.

He told Gordon he did not have 90 mins in him for the time being, but he has now been given more game time. With every game, Gordon has got better. He has also been chatting to Dobbin and trying to convince him to sign a new contract.

How long Benitez will be here no-one knows, but I hope he is here long enough to keep shaking the club up – and rest assured he will have Tosun off the payroll in January and possibly Delph and Holgate.

Gray and Townsend have been decent signings, the two full-backs he is after sound decent, so it could be a very interesting second half to the season with our main striker returning as well.

We'll never have a better chance of getting some of these out of the door while he is on watch. The second half of the season is when we will find out if Benitez – with injured players returning, and signings coming in – is up to the task.

At the moment, his task with what he had to go with is up there with Lewis Hamilton driving Del Boy's three-wheeler and expecting results.

Derek Thomas
100 Posted 30/12/2021 at 00:30:01
Barkley is just a Wavertree Gomes. Even if he was paying us, I wouldn't want him; all show, no go – swerve big time.

Digne: rinse whoever for as much as we can and invest it wisely. Which again should rule out Barkley or Ramsey.

Rob Dolby
101 Posted 29/12/2021 at 00:34:39
The fundamentals of building a better team are retaining the best players and replacing them at the right time. Not just getting rid of players that don't toe the line. There are always arguments at clubs. A Manager is supposed to deal with things like that for the better of the club, not himself.

We are restricted with FFP but he buys an unknown left-back because he has fallen out with a French international left-back. That's not helping the club or team, in my opinion.

Digne is under a long contract and is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League. The new guy hasn't kicked a ball in the Premier League. How does anyone know if he will be better than what we have?

We are replacing a single point of failure with another. Surely we need to keep Digne to add competition to the squad. What happens when Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison look at him sideways?

The manager is getting away with more than most due to his past reputation. In reality, he has stunk the place out. Tactically, we look disjointed and weak defending set plays. Has anyone spotted any improvements under Benitez?

James Flynn
102 Posted 30/12/2021 at 00:49:47
I'd say:

Digne told his agent to see if a title or Champions League contender is interested, since we are going nowhere currently, while he's turning 29. Not winning anything with us, plus his last crack at a pay increase.

The club got wind of it (or Digne's agent told them), needs financial elbow room for January signing(s), and Rafa is keeping him in bubble wrap to avoid injury.

Vijay Nair
103 Posted 30/12/2021 at 01:13:12
I reckon you're right on the money there, James..

If any player exchange with Chelsea is involved, I'd push for Conor Gallagher over Barkley.

Lester Yip
104 Posted 30/12/2021 at 04:32:10
So far the addition of Gray and Townsend seems shrewd business. Rondon might not but as a free agent, there's not much to lose.

Soucek is an unknown name to most of us until Moyes gave him a chance. That's what the scouts should have done. Obviously it is not working in the last few years.

I am not sure if Vitality is any good. It could be just the process of rinse and clean that we need to do which the DOF fails.

Jay Harris
105 Posted 30/12/2021 at 05:17:36

IMO Billy Gilmour has more potential and I wouldn't mind a cheeky tilt at Pulisic who is not getting a regular runout.

Barry Rathbone
106 Posted 30/12/2021 at 14:14:20
Tony Hill 98

Well he proved he was a good player but recent comments suggest he's gone off the boil so the question must be "Why?"

My view comes from the recurring theme his Everton career represents.

The number of players who start well then disintegrate (Schneiderlin, Gomes etc) is colossal and it's easy to blame the manager but he's had so many!!

I really think players come to the realisation this is a basket-case of a club and give up. I might be wrong, of course, but I can't think that way in case I come out in hives.

Robert Tressell
107 Posted 30/12/2021 at 14:18:54
Barry, I totally agree. Players turn up motivated but the pointlessness of playing but not actually competing for anything begins to eat away at them.

This is why we have to start making a big play for the cups.

Stan Schofield
108 Posted 30/12/2021 at 16:58:30
If Digne leaves, I’ll be pissed off, because it’ll basically confirm that the so-called ‘project’ to compete at the top is just a bag of shite. We haven’t progressed since Moyes, and are clearly extremely unlikely to given our track record of selling our best players to clubs that DO compete at the top.
Steve Shave
109 Posted 30/12/2021 at 17:05:07
Stan @108, why be pissed off? What has Digne done for 18 months?

His form is totally off and we will be looking to replace him with a high-potential, hungry younger player. I think this is exactly the right transfer strategy – buy hungry 23- or 24-year-olds, sell for more than purchased if they go off the boil or want away before their resale value declines significantly. Offer a new contract to those who do work out.

Yes, our recruitment has been utterly woeful under Moshiri but one of the most tragic aspects of it has been our inability to shift players on who don't work out. Just look at Schneiderlin, Bolasie, Sigurdsson, Tosun, Delph and arguably Gomes too (though I still hope we find the old André before the season is out). We won't get more than a handful of beans for that outlay of circa £150M, criminal!

I for one will wave Digne off with a "Thank you for your service," and move on, satisfied we got one right for a change.

Stan Schofield
110 Posted 30/12/2021 at 17:10:49
Steve, as Barry Rathbone said, so many good players come here and start well, then the Everton shiteness seeps into them, and then we get a replacement who starts with promise (if we’re lucky), and the Everton shiteness seeps into them, and then we……

This club is Groundhog Day Shite.

Mike Gaynes
111 Posted 30/12/2021 at 17:42:08
Rob #101, we all wondered the same thing when we acquired the then-unknown Digne. How could he improve on Baines? And then he seamlessly replaced our club legend.

You never know whether the new guy will be better than the incumbent, but at least we know he's a whole lot younger, a whole lot faster and a whole lot cheaper, and has played a bit in the Champions League and for his country -- just as Digne had.

Barry #106, I'll only agree with half your point. Gomes didn't disintegrate. He is what he has always been. (As for Schneiderlin, he got married. 'Nuff said.)

Mike Gaynes
112 Posted 30/12/2021 at 20:02:16
A new Italian rumor... CalcioMercato speculating on a possible swap deal with Inter -- Digne for Mattias Vecino. I haven't seen Vecino play since he blew out a knee a couple of years ago... anybody got newer info?
Rob Dolby
113 Posted 30/12/2021 at 22:02:10
Mike 111. I don't disagree with any of the points you make.

I just don't agree with selling our better players. We have been selling our better players for 30 years and got absolutely nowhere.

Even if this kid is fantastic he still won't have any competition for his place.

We can't surely loan Digne to Chelsea. How can a relegation threatened team have an Italian striker and French left back out on loan! Madness.

James Flynn
114 Posted 31/12/2021 at 00:57:02
Mike (113) - I looked and just found what you posted or other articles off the original.

I did find Window rumors going back as far as the Winter 2020 window, which I'd guess had to do with Ancelotti being our manager.

And here we are again. 30-year old midfielder. It shows he's played 12 games this season.

I don't remember him or the rumors. Ever see him play?

James Flynn
115 Posted 31/12/2021 at 01:11:17
And I see Lukaku giving it to Tuchel in the press and wanting to go back to Milan.

Jeez. That didn't last long.

Steve Shave
116 Posted 31/12/2021 at 10:34:20
James 115 I saw that too. Lukaku is a fantastic striker but has no class or integrity. He is entitled and has a big mouth. I was disgusted with him when he showed a video on Insta of him and Pogba celebrating his transfer to Man Utd before he'd even signed, a real lack of respect for the fans who sang his name.
Stan Schofield
117 Posted 31/12/2021 at 12:23:41
Lukaku’s best seasons, so far, have been with Everton. I’d have him back in a flash provided he didn’t have one eye on the next move and ‘building his CV’ as he once put it.
David Connor
118 Posted 01/01/2022 at 10:45:58
With the signing of the young lad from the Ukraine, it looks more likely that Digne will be heading off pretty soon. I am not too concerned because the lad has been dogshit for a season and a half now. Cash in and reinvest.

I would say the same for any player who has been in poor form for so long. Everton just seem to cling on to too many poor players for too long and end up getting zero money back: Gomes, Iwobi, Tosun & Delph are 4 such players. Get rid of the lot of 'em – they are garbage.

Charles Brewer
119 Posted 04/01/2022 at 10:55:06
I was one of those glad to see the back of Lukaku. He was a good striker (albeit only against mediocre opposition), but his attitude was poisonous. Having used Everton as a platform for improving his reputation, he was happy not only to leave for "greener pastures" but to poison the dressing room and club on the way.

Everton's 30 year problem has not been, for the most part, the players, it's been the club. We have now seen a succession of innovative / successful / world class managers fail ignominiously from which it is impossible not to conclude that there is a much deeper problem. I've written elsewhere about the failed strategic vision of Kenwright, which I believe may be at the heart of the matter, but I think we need a root and branch reform which may or may not succeed, but the current path is Championship and quite possible bankruptcy and collapse.

Also, isn't the experience of Walcott and Iwobi sufficient to demonstrate that Arsenal rejects are really not a good idea? Given that this is Everton, I suspect the alternative wil be that we go back to buying players who are useless with Manchester United instead.

Mark Rankin
120 Posted 04/01/2022 at 13:24:12
Lukaku came to Everton scored 80 odd goals in about 130 games before being sold for £50+ million pound profit and we’re giving him stick?
Allen Rodgers
121 Posted 04/01/2022 at 17:58:41
Charles @119.

Glad to see the back of Lukaku?

OMG – as the kids say!

Barry Ferguson
122 Posted 05/01/2022 at 19:13:50
If he's going to Newcastle (as strong rumours are suggesting) then it best be for a “proper” wedge… I can see them bouncing up the table, which leaves only Watford (who battered us) and Norwich as worse than us in the Premier League.

Those two aren't handicapped with Rafa as manager either.


Joe Digney
123 Posted 05/01/2022 at 22:11:30
Barcodes have bid 22.5 mil plus longstaff apparently.
I’d rather push them for 30 mil and they are welcome to keep longstaff 😂.
Brian Wilkinson
124 Posted 05/01/2022 at 22:39:06
Joe, I would also hold on for a higher bid and do a straight swap Longstaff for Holgate.
Marc Hints
125 Posted 06/01/2022 at 06:15:40
And our neighbours close to a £60 deal for Luis Diaz, what a player. I really do dispair!
Dave McDowell
126 Posted 07/01/2022 at 05:24:07
We seem to be spending the Digne money before he’s sold so obviously being Everton this means Digne’s going to hunker down (playing cards and drinking tea with Cenk) and not move until the summer thus hamstringing any further potential purchases.
Colin Glassar
127 Posted 07/01/2022 at 05:59:05
Delph, Tosun and Gbamin will all sit out the rest of the season earning a fortune in the meantime. This is karma, baby. All of this is our own doing thanks to the pair of incompetent fuckers who “run” the club.

Digne will probably wait until the last day of the window just to spite Benitez.

Mike Gaynes
128 Posted 07/01/2022 at 07:02:57
Sorry, Charles, I'm ringing the "crapola" gong on that one.

Where do you get the idea that Lukaku "poisoned the dressing room and club"?

Who in the club has ever said any such thing about him?

And as far as scoring "only against mediocre opposition"... that rings the same bell. His best goals with the club were the dance against Chelsea, the dash against City and the drive against Leicester. Quality opponents all.

Shane Corcoran
129 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:00:29
What would Peter Reid say?
Brian Williams
130 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:29:20
What would Peter Reid say indeed. A wily comment from Rafa the gaffer aimed at getting the supporters onside. Will it succeed or will it just further fuel the flames of mistrust and hatred?

......and I guess the next post makes it quite clear which way the poster is leaning.

Johan Elmgren
131 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:31:43
From Teamtalk:

Benitez said: “I think he was very clear. I want to ask a question to every fan. What would Peter Reid do or say if a player says he doesn’t want to be there? That’s it, simple.

“I had a couple of conversations with him [Digne]. He told me what he thought, so what do you expect a manager to do when a player is thinking about leaving?”

"Ask a question to every fan"??

This is so totally over top for me... I'm furious with this behaviour... First he alienates one of our best players, then he tries to justify it by saying "he doesn't want to be here"... It's because of you, FSW, that he doesn't want to be here. Trying to divert it to look like anyting else, that's purely psychotical behaviour... divide and conquer... FSW is a cancer and he needs to go...


Jim Lloyd
132 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:41:10
I think Benitez is aying how it is. I think there's been a disagreement between the two but Digne has been getting less and less effective over the last three seasons. I'm glad we're replacing him. I think Peter reid would have certainly answered where the door was, if a player said he wanted away.
Peter Neilson
133 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:42:23
Brian must admit Benitez lost me after the Brighton debacle. Same for others with me at the match. For him to then drag Peter Reid into it and have the nerve to criticise those who put themselves before the team when he has the biggest ego in the club doesn’t help get me back on board. We’re stuck with him for the foreseeable anyway he should just button it.
Chris Williams
134 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:42:39
Benitez is doing himself no favours with this mealy mouthed vindictive attack on Digne. Constantly repeated in interviews. He was at it before the Brighton game, and in an excruciating peculiar interview after the game.

This is a player who has been part of the ‘leadership Group’, under successive managers, captained the team from time to time, a current full international, and you might think possibly well respected and liked in the dressing room. I wonder what the other players think, never mind Peter Reid. Who will be next?

Just focus on getting the team right you fucking bellend!

Charles Brewer
135 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:48:16
In response to various comments.

Lukaku failed to fit in at Chelsea (twice), Everton, Manchester United and Inter Milan. He changes clubs every two years or so and has done so consistently throughout his career. This did not happen with players like Roy Keane, who though obnoxious and violent, fits well into a club structure with the right management, or the equally difficult Alan Shearer or Johann Cruyff (whose US trip can be considered just a way of making money). Pele famously only played for one real team, but then I don't think I've ever heard that he was in any sense difficult.

We know Lukaku considered Everton "too small" for his ambitions, however, since he's never succeeded anywhere else by any reasonable standards, I think we can conclude he is an obnoxious problem player like Pogba, or pre-Alex Ferguson Cantona.

As any employer will know, there is more to an enterprise than a star salesman, engineer or accountant. The benefits of having a Lukaku scoring occasionally do not outweigh the problems of a snakepit dressing room.

Jeff Armstrong
136 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:53:02
Hope Reidy comes back with a “ do not drag me into your mess you clown, most Everton fans, including me, now want YOU gone, never mind Digne”
Paul Smith
137 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:56:01
Can’t see what Benitez has said wrong here. He’s right, if Digne wants gone and it’s irreparable then he should go. He could do worse than invoke Peter Reid as well. Now there’s a real club legend.
Michael Lynch
138 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:00:52
Worth watching the whole press conference. Rafa is going peak Rafa here - he tends to dodge questions (like most managers) but when he's fucked off, he gives it both barrels. Basically, he seems to be accusing Digne of putting his ego before the needs of the team, of (I might be misinterpreting here) not wanting to put the effort into building the club back to where it needs to be, and of making it clear that he wants out on a number of occasions.

Be interesting to see what Peter Reid says now, but Rafa's position is clear: he only wants players who want to play for Everton. Fair enough really. If Digne wants out, then we need to sell him asap. Ideally I'd like to see him go abroad rather than to Newcastle, but I'm not too arsed if he goes to Chelsea. If he does go to Chelsea, it's all about the pay packet because he won't be getting a game once Chilwell is fit.

Shane Corcoran
139 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:03:28
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of what’s gone on between the two, these are the words of a young, naive coach, but Benitez has form with this. I remember him coming with “facts” to a press conference to attack Ferguson when he was at Liverpool.

Regardless of Digne’s behaviour, we can all be sure that his replacement was eyed up before the fall out so what do we take from that? That he doesn’t rate Digne, that with a new contract he saw Digne as a saleable asset? Whatever the reason, he’s obviously going to want to move on as he’s in his prime, unlike Seamus who should have expected a direct opponent for his position to be brought in.

Jay Wood

140 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:07:31
'Since he's never succeeded anywhere else by any reasonable standards, I think we can conclude he is an obnoxious problem player like Pogba, or pre-Alex Ferguson Cantona.'

Charles, your opening clause is a false premise. Lukaku HAS succeeded to not just reasonable standards, but very high standards at pretty much every club he has played at.

It follows then your conclusion is equally false, not helped by you doubling down by claiming that Pogba and Cantona are/were similar 'obnoxious problem players.'

Barry Hesketh
141 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:13:42
The only question I have about the Digne situation is when did Digne inform the manager that he wanted to leave Everton FC, before last week's game against Brighton or following it. If it was prior to Brighton, why did the manager have him in his squad? If it was following Brighton, then Digne could be forgiven for asking to leave.

Obvously if a player doesn't want to be at a club, the only option is to try and get the best deal and sell him to a new club. Whichever party is to blame, it's a problem we could have done without, given current form and injuries.

Barry Hesketh
142 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:13:42
The only question I have about the Digne situation is when did Digne inform the manager that he wanted to leave Everton FC, before last week's game against Brighton or following it. If it was prior to Brighton, why did the manager have him in his squad? If it was following Brighton, then Digne could be forgiven for asking to leave.

Obvously if a player doesn't want to be at a club, the only option is to try and get the best deal and sell him to a new club. Whichever party is to blame, it's a problem we could have done without, given current form and injuries.

Jay Wood

143 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:19:54
Peter Reid has apparently already replied on Twitter to being mentioned by Benitez today, effectively agreeing with the manager, but saying if Digne truly didn't want to play for Everton, he should not have been on the bench v Brighton.
Brian Murray
144 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:20:15
Shane post 139. It’s obvious Benitez is as flawed as every manager we have had since and including Moyes. However if it’s true what you say and he’s never rated deign and planned his exit and replacement well that in itself is professional and very un Everton so il give him that at least. His penchant for upsetting and weeding out amateurs I pray his coup de grace is exposing the chairman before his undoubted sacking sooner or later. Now that would be going out all guns blazing I’d give him the freedom of the city if he somehow does that.
Raymond Fox
145 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:22:01
Digne is a class player that we cant really afford to lose, but if he wants a move so be it.
Its no fun for any player at Everton at the moment.
Rennie Smith
146 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:33:07
There's a big difference between not wanting to play for a club and not wanting to play for a manager. Who would want to play for this idiot? It must be so soul-destroying week-in-week-out to be told to keep it tight, don't cross the halfway line unless you really have to, always think negatively etc. etc.

I don't blame any player wanting to escape the doom.

Michael Lynch
147 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:39:31
The Peter Reid tweet is "I didn’t take what Rafa said as a dig. If Digne didn’t want to play for @Everton
and wanted a move, he would not have made the bench"

But does he mean "if I was in charge and DIgne didn't want to play for Everton, I wouldn't even have him on the bench" or did he mean "if Digne really didn't want to play for the club, why did Rafa put him on the bench?"

Rennie Smith
148 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:40:36
And how dare he talk about egos, does this bloke have a mirror in his house? "Do we want to grow and improve or just to manage the egos and leave the team behind?", that could be a dig at Digne or Carlo, but either way they both have more class in their left toe than Beneathus.
Craig Harrison
149 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:43:35
Rennie #146. Id have to disagree that our full backs are being asked to not cross the halfway line. Take a look at the heat / pass maps for digne and coleman and they are often hugh up in the opponents half. I think the problem is they are being asked to push high and track back fast. Coleman is older and cant do it anymore. Digne has never tracked back as fast as he pushes forward. This results in gaps that pull our central defenders and midfielders into the full back areas to cover resulting in an empty midfield. Hopefully the nee kids hit the ground running and can provide the speed in attack and defence that we are sadly missing
Mike Gaynes
150 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:50:31
Rennie, the fact is that in the first game after Digne's banishment, Godfrey regularly stormed across the halfway line. He produced more, both in attack and defense, than Digne had at any time this season.
Danny O’Neill
151 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:55:48
It's no surprise to me. There may be financial motives and wheeling / dealing factors at play.

But to me, the discussion here opens up the DoF model debate, which we royally screwed up. In it's purist form, implement a football strategy and then bring in the players at all levels to deliver on that.

The first team coach is just that and, as Chelsea have proven, it almost becomes irrelevant who that is. Not entirely, but almost. That's why they've been able to freely and frequently change coaches but sustain success.

You can argue that this happens regardless whenever there's change, but the way we're approaching now is leaning towards personal preference. Again, that could be labelled at a DoF, although they would be following a strategy. Again, in its purist and properly applied way.

Forget nationality, we've gone back to the traditional British manager model. Supreme control in the hands of one. An absolute monarchy so to speak. Czarist Russia at Goodison.

It doesn't matter what we think. If he doesn't like them or he needs to move them on, they're gone. And might be to bring in his favourites and players he trusts as well as targets.

Rennie Smith
152 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:03:22
Craig and Mike, I may have been a little flippant in talking about passing the halfway line but you surely get my point about the negativity that is installed from the off? I know Digne hasn't been playing that well this season, but remember he was (and still can be) one of the best attacking fullbacks in the league
Brian Murray
153 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:09:11
The continued two in midfield getting over run. The stubbornness not using subs when behind unless it’s his rondon. The lack of bravery or vision not trusting youth until backed into a corner. It all begs the question how did he succeed as a manager all these years. Same with the naivety of Martinez and silva. Koeman just useless. Moyes glass ceiling approach. We don’t half pick em.
Joe McMahon
154 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:15:43
I feel, there is no point in over-analysis. He has more appearances for Everton that any other club. He is 28 and will want to play in the Champions League, and realistically staying at Everton that's not gonna happen. From what i've seen of him, he's given up on lowly Everton a long time ago, pre Benitez days.
Mike Gaynes
155 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:20:50
Charles #135, there is absolutely zero evidence that Lukaku caused "a snakepit dressing room" at any club he has played for, including ours. You are making that up. No one has EVER said any such thing about Rom.

As to "he's never succeeded anywhere else by any reasonable standards", you are absolutely out of your mind. Rom led Inter to the Serie A title last season, their first in 11 years, with 24 league goals and 11 assists, a team record for total goal involvements. The season before he scored 23 league goals as Inter finished one point behind Juve (not bad for a "snakepit", eh?). All told he scored 64 in 95 for Inter. And during all that, his only disciplinary problem was that he couldn't get along with Ibra, who truly is an "obnoxious problem player." (Nobody gets along with fucking Ibra, he's the biggest ass in football.) It would be almost impossible to be MORE successful than Rom has been the past two years in Milan.

So he's not a one-club man like some of those guys you mentioned from 25 years ago. Neither is Cristiano or Hazard, and Mbappe won't be. Neither was Maradona, for that matter. So what? Some players go where the pay and the opportunity are best. And some players like to mouth off sometimes. Again, so what? That doesn't make them dressing room "poison."

Love your opinions, mate, but this one is ten yards over the crossbar and high up in the stands.

Mike Gaynes
156 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:33:31
Rennie #152, Digne was most definitely one of the best attacking FBs in the league in his first two seasons with us. He was sensational. But his form slipped badly last season and has remained at that lower level for 18 months now. That's not just a slump. That's a serious problem. We've been waiting for him to make those buzzing overlap runs, put in those pretty crosses, start cracking those free kicks into the top corner again. For whatever reason, it hasn't happened. Not under Ancelotti and not under Benitez.

Maybe he can regain that level, maybe not. But it obviously won't happen with us.

Rob Halligan
157 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:36:16
Mike # 155. Somebody making something up on TW. You do surprise me there!!
Peter Neilson
158 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:38:47
It’s the combination of arrogance with ineptitude that grates with Benitez. Once worked with a guy who behaved like this, not so thinly veiled digs at somebody once they left, he had no respect from anyone from that point on.

Danny (151) does that put Kenwright in the role of Rasputin?

Justin Doone
159 Posted 10/01/2022 at 11:18:47
On paper at least, losing Digne for £25 M and bringing in Mykolenko for £17 M isn't particular good business.

£8M for a struggling team to lose the experience and general consistency of a good player, risking it for the potential of a relatively unknown young international player.

In the short term at least, we appear to be weakening our first team which we can ill afford to do.

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