Digne wants to leave Everton – Benitez

Lucas Digne joined Everton from Barcelona in 2018

Everton defender Lucas Digne has asked to leave the club, says Toffees manager Rafael Benitez.

The France international has not played since 1 December and has drawn interest from several clubs including Newcastle.

Benitez says Digne told him he “doesn’t want to be here”.

Italian clubs are also interested in the 28-year-old and Everton are keen on a sale to provide vital funds after they signed Ukraine left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko earlier in January.

Following a disagreement over tactics and his role in the team, Digne returned to the Everton squad as an unused substitute for Sunday’s home defeat by Brighton.

But Benitez said Digne’s desire to leave was “very clear”, adding: “I want to ask a question to every fan or former player. What would you say to a player who doesn’t want to be there?

“It is simple. I had a couple of conversations with him, he told me what he thought.”

Digne could go to Newcastle as part of a swap, with Benitez interested in signing Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, who he worked with while he was Magpies manager.

Eddie Howe’s side are 19th in the Premier League table and have one win all season, but earlier on Friday completed the signing of England full-back Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid for £12m.

Benitez is looking to “create a winning mentality” at Everton and said “you need players that really want to be here”.

“Do we want to try and grow and improve?” he continued. “Or just to manage the egos and then leave the team behind, depending on the egos?”

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