There are a few football journalists out there whose word is as good as gold. When it comes to Everton news and rumours, Paul Joyce of The Times is one of those.
And today, despite being in Russia covering the World Cup, Joyce tweeted this -
Everton targeting Barcelona left back Lucas Digne as well as teammate Yerry Mina— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) July 12, 2018
There’s two parts to this Barcelona bombshell - first is the confirmation that the Blues are indeed chasing the Colombian centre half Yerry Mina who has been linked with Everton in the last few days.
The next part is that there’s a new contender being linked with becoming Leighton Baines’ long-term successor - Lucas Digne.
Lucas Digne’s time at Barcelona has not gone how he’d hoped. He’s clearly not good enough to play there. Now, just because someone isn’t good enough for Barcelona doesn’t mean they can’t be a success at Everton, but it does make evaluating the player difficult.
This is the player that Barcelona bought from AS Roma:
For a fullback he was great in the air and a very strong tackler by percentage. However, his offensive contribution was basically nothing. This didn’t change at Barcelona. In his first season, coach Luis Enrique moved to a back three system towards the end of the year where even the great Jordi Alba couldn’t get consistent playing time as a left back and Digne’s playing time died. When new coach Ernesto Valverde came in last season, Digne slid deeper down the bench despite a four in the back system being restored.
When I see Digne’s radar above, I see a CB playing fullback. I don’t see a true LB. Tackling and winning aerial duels is what you need your CB doing. Trouble is, Digne is only 5’10 and not hugely athletic. So I see a guy who isn’t big enough to play CB and not good enough going forward to play fullback who Barca for some reason paid £14.85m for.
Digne is almost certainly a better backup left back option that what we had last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s what we need. I’m much more interested in Mina, and now that Barcelona has officially finalized the Llenget deal I think those wheels will be moving soon. If Joyce is reporting that we have interest in Digne, I believe it, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea.