Lucas Digne breaks silence on why he’s left Everton as he seals £25m Aston Villa move after Chelsea interest

Lucas Digne has now departed Everton for Aston Villa after interest from Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham.

Lucas Digne has admitted he did not expect his Everton career “to end this way”.

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‘I will not enter a war on words with anyone’

Digne had an off-field dispute with Rafa Benitez last month over tactics. That led to him being omitted for three games, while he also was absent for the Toffees’ 3-2 win at Hull in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Everton have already found a replacement for the France international, having signed Vitaliy Mykolenko from Dynamo Kiev.

That left the door open for Digne to exit Merseyside after a three-and-a-half year stay. He agreed terms with Villa for a fee of £25 million and has signed a deal until the summer of 2026.

In a post on Instagram, Digne said that he had the “ambition of staying in this club for a long time” after signing a new contract last year.

But he explained why he’s leaving Everton, having joined from Barcelona in the summer of 2018.

Digne said: “From Day One the Evertonians have received me with a lot of warm feelings, and I am forever thankful for that. I have loved to be a part of the Everton family.

“I have always worked hard to give back to the fans on and off the pitch. I have loved the unity of fans and players. Not only Goodison on a match day but also in everyday life.

“Only one year ago I signed a new contract with the ambition of staying in this club for a long time, giving everything for my club, for the development and project, that I believed in - and for the passionate fans.

“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 did not 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 will not enter a war on words with anyone.

“The club don’t deserve that, the fans don’t deserve that - and to be honest, I don’t feel that I deserve that. There are so many good and decent people in and around Everton who want to the best for this club and not only for themself - and to them i can only say from my heart: I wish you the best!

“Thank you, to all you wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians.
It has been a an honour and a true pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people - because a club do not belong to a player or a manager, but to the fans.

“I will always carry you with me in my heart wherever I go. Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.

“All the best to @everton and Evertonians.”

Gerrard’s delight

Villa manager Steven Gerrard told of his delight to have completed the signing of Digne’s “pedigree”.

He told the club’s website: “When Lucas became available we jumped at the opportunity to bring him to the club. “To sign a player of his pedigree and quality in the January window is a great addition to our squad and his arrival excites me and everyone associated with Aston Villa.”