The previous Premier League had been a battleground for the low-ranking English clubs. The English top-flight is becoming more competitive, which makes it all-the-more difficult for aspiring stars to make a statement in the league.
For sure, no one wants to be playing for a team that’s struggling to make it to the top five, lest win the title.
However, that’s not the case for Barcelona’s Lucas Digne that had been reported to leave Barca. Reports stated that Digne had just signed a transfer deal finalizing his move to Everton for £18 million which will run for five years.
This comes as a surprise knowing that Barca won the Spanish La Liga and Copa del Rey. Leaving a championship-contending club is synonymous with lowering your chances of winning another title.
The 25-year-old didn’t play during the International Champions Cup game of Barcelona last Saturday after his transfer bid was accepted by the English club.
As of now, the developments had been very surprising knowing that Barca is expected to dominate the Spanish top flight this season.
The Frenchman moved to Camp Nou in 2016 after playing for Paris Saint-Germain for three seasons. It was a journey for him as he had gone a long way from once becoming a second-choice underdog to a go-to left-back.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned as things shifted tide deep into the second season. Most sports analysts agree that one of the main reasons why he left is because he was regarded as an inferior substitute to Barca left-back Jordi Alba.
However, Digne didn't specifically talk about these speculations. Instead, he said that he is happy to be a part of Everton. Playing and winning games, as well as exciting his fans with high-quality games is what he wants to do in the Liverpool-based club.
During his statement, one can easily conclude that Digne is confident to be a new member of Everton because he said that he played great football during his loan season in Rome. He also acknowledged that he learned a lot from his two seasons playing at Nou Camp.
Specifically speaking, the 25-year-old stated that having the chance to play with some of the best football players in the world helped him a lot to improve his game.
Getting to play his best games in his new club is what he wants to do now that he has free reign over the defensive lines of the Toffees. He continued saying that he is confident and excited to have the chance to showcase his skills and talent in Everton.
He even said that he sees his new career as a new challenge for him to not only improve his game, but also discover the new country, people, and football environment in England.
Getting to work with Everton manager Marco Silva is also one of the things that the Frenchman looks forward to, knowing that Silva played top-flight football in Portugal.
Sports analysts expect the two to have a great connection with each other as Digne is very willing to further develop his game with the help of a great mentor that is Silva.
In an interview, Digne said that he has a great feeling that he will have a great time in Everton with the help of his new coach and manager. He continued and said that his meeting with Silva motivated him to help Everton dominate the Premier League, even if it seems highly unlikely at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese manager said that Digne has a huge desire to play in Everton. The Frenchman's aggressive approach, high-quality plays, and capability to make highly technical lines is what makes him a great catch for the Toffees.
However, it’s worth noting that Everton is also closing in on BadouNdiaye of Stoke City. The midfielder, according to reports, is on the verge of finalizing a deal to transfer him to Goodison Park in exchange for Ashley Willian who is also set to join Stoke City on loan.
This is a strategic move for both clubs as the two players are having some game issues on their respective sides. Switching them places, based on what most football analysts say, is the best option for them to grow and improve as a player.
Digging deeper into the transfer
Everton is one of the highest-spending clubs in the Premier League. Over the past two seasons alone, the Toffees spent more than £300 million on their new player signings. This is because of their desire to become a final-contending team, or at least make it to the top five.
However, things changed a bit as the recent signing of Digne is one of the cheaper transfers. Amounting to only £18 million, one can easily say that Everton slowed their spending down a bit, or might have just become wiser when it comes to signing expenditures.
This comes at a perfect time as Everton needs additional quality and depth in their offensive and defense lines. Fortunately, Digne can easily do both thanks to his versatility. He might be a left-wing defender, but he’s got the skills to fend off any attacking lines or do the attacks himself.
Also, the Frenchman is approaching his peak years, which is a very good thing for Everton. Not only is it budget-wise, but it’s also beneficial to their overall mission of making it big in the Premier League.
This is also Digne’s chance to go a step higher in his career as he failed to make it to the regular first-team football in Barcelona. Then again, this is one of the biggest reasons, according to sports analysts, on why Digne left Camp Nou.
Him playing in Everton will make him as the first-choice left-wing defender as the Toffees lack any high-caliber player that can fill that role perfectly. Yes, they might have Leighton Baines, but he's already 33-years-old, and his game is considerably slowing down.
Bryan Oviedo was supposed to be their go-to defender, but even him left the team for Sunderland. With this, Digne has all the attention on him, and he’s happy to impress everyone.
Not having any supporting left-back for Baines greatly affected his game to the point that he's seen to have been overworked. In fact, the injury he sustained last season caused him to miss 18 straight matches.
This forced former Everton manager Sam Allardyce to let right-back Cuco Martina, a third-choice left-wing, to take on the emergency role due to the lack of any suitable replacement on that role.
Not having strong enough recruits for the said role has caused it to be in peril. After all, it's expected for players to have to take breaks now and then, especially when the league is a tough and demanding one.
Better performance needed
The loan spell during the 2015-16 Roma match is something that Digne would want to do all over again, as the moves to Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have shown to be more frustrating than the actual match.
Digne, throughout his four seasons on both sides of his Europe stint, hasn’t had more than 15 whole league games started per season.
For this time at Barcelona, there has been 22 league starts all in all. On top of this impressive adding to his CV, he also knows how to converse in 4 languages, also having played on countries of other teams before.
While it gives the team so much excitement to shoot a player straight into the spotlight with every new signing, it’s easy to overlook other old members of the team.
One of these seemingly overlooked players is Baines, who has proved to uphold his performance, even if he has suffered the most following the team not having a replacement better than Steven Pienaar, who is currently being replaced by Everton but has caused other players to suffer with him not being a good enough replacement.
On a positive note, a promising new signing on the team, which cost the team a whopping £40 million is Richarlison.
Richarlison’sGoodison Park transfer is a dream come true for the player, as he has long aspired to be part of one of England's biggest teams. He is positive and wants to be successful at Everton.
His move also means that he would be united with Marco Silva, which he considers to be an important aspect of his whole career. While he admits to be still learning, one of his intentions is to honor their team's shirt, and on the pitch, be able to prove that he deserves to be there.
The 21-year-old has managed to score five times in 12 Premier League games, but in the preceding games, have failed to score. Silva has affirmed his happiness at having Richarlison on the team, saying that he is a good player, and will add more competitiveness to the squad.
Richarlison’s transfer raises eyebrows
His transfer to the team for such a high price has been met with criticism, as critics believe that he has not performed his best during the 2017-2018 season, making the hefty price tag rather questionable.
He has, however, established himself to be a risk that's going to be worth it. He still is a raw player, having missed twice that has taken its toll on the Hornets team, but this was promising enough for him to be primed as a challenger for Neymar in the Selecao team. Marco Silva’s presence is what gives critics hope in this recent transfer, where it was him who managed to urge Richarlison to jump on board about a year ago.
He owes a lot to Marco. Richarlison’s plummet regarding performance goes to show how his mind works, with him looking up to Marco.
With them on the same boat, this gives fans a lot of home, which he would be able to live up to people’s expectations and get past critics as he unleashes his full potential.
More on Baines
While Baines is showing the bane side of age by not being as fast as he was, but the lack of a smart midfielder has also contributed negatively to his performance for each game.
Against all odds, however, how he managed to play on for so long is a perfect showing of game loyalty, in a sport that’s filled with swaps, selling, and transfers. This is despite himself showing interest from clubs who can offer so much more.
As a matter of fact, he gets the record for the sole defender to have made it to 53 assists in the Premier League.
The 2012-2013 season showed how down Everton was under David Moyes’ management following two departures, Pienaar and Mikel Arteta leaving the season prior, who were two of the most creative team members, thus causing the team to be a lot less smart and fast.
Despite this huge loss, it was Baines who stepped up the plate, managing to end as one of the most overworked players, playing all throughout the league game, leading to having 116 chances, one of the highest for the league.
Luckily, in the season after, Pienaar managed to come back, and Baines was able to resume playing with him on the left, being one of the most productive partners.
For 24 percent of the chances, it was Baines alone that was to be credited for, which ultimately led to Everton getting a place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, as well as The Player of the Year and Season Awards for Everton, all of which, was accomplished as a left-back player for the team.
Most of the players who have been lauded as most creative are mostly from the Midfield, which includes Mesut Ozil, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Eriksen, each winning ones, and Eden Hazard, having won twice.
Out of all the players in the 2012-2013 season winning such awards, it was only Ozil who had more than Baine’s 116 chances.
Baine’s age, as well as other team dynamics issues, may get in the way with him making better exploits for this point in his career, but he would not be willing to concede to his starting place without any resistance to Digne.
The competition is going to be a breath of fresh air for the team, as for so long, they only recognize a single left-back. This time around, they would be having two good enough-options which could greatly help the team’s new manager, Marco Silva revamp the squad.
Baines, despite the rumors of him not willing to give his position to anyone, was welcome to have Digne on the team, and he believes that it would make training for future matches for the team much more intense, which he also believes would translate into better games.
Despite the competition, at the end of the day, everyone will still be needed, and people will be coming out for the team, which is what would be the ideal thing to happen for the whole club.
Lucas Digne on his new team
The decision for Digne to make it to the team was a well-thought of one, and given his ripe age, the future for the team looks bright with him.
The French player is a great fit for the team, regardless of when the left-back guard changing would be done. It already is certain that Digne would be next in line with Baines.
Digne grabbed the chance to be able to thank his fans when he had the chance, for the messages he got, and how it made his departure from the Spanish team one which is much easier, given that the people managed to connect.
He has also loved living in England, and his agent, Mikkel Beck was swift to affirm that he had made the right decision.
After all, he has already been with him for the past decade, and hence, he will follow what he says. His manager adds that the team is physical and strong, and the contact, he felt, was best for him.
Higher transfer rates for players
According to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, big teams like Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have inflated the rates for transfer from one football team to another.
In the case of latter, they managed to defeat transfer records at €222 million just to get Neymar into the team from Barca, and the former paid €180 million to key Mbappe on theirs.
The City was also a team to invest largely in their members, spending £200m in the 2017-2018 season in their squad, which has managed to break titles.
The Champions of the Premier League, however, has defeated other records by signing Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, contrary to Guardiola’s statement in January about how the club would not spend anything higher than £100m for just a single player.
Out of the teams, one with a not-so-extravagant transfer expense is Bayern, and PSG and City are both to be blamed, according to Rummenigge.
While Guardiola was initially planning to get more players to be on their team, they scrapped the thought, saying that they did not want to get on with the hype.
As surprising as it sounds, it would be great for this statement to hold true the moment the window for transfers would close, according to Rummenigge.
He further goes on to say that the culprits behind soaring prices have always been the two teams, PSG and City, which is a far cry from Real Madrid, who have not been spending too much just to get players on board, yet has managed to be on top of the Champions League.
This is the same path that Guardiola wants his team to take. Lewandowski, Bayern’s striker, is allegedly in talks with Real Madrid, but Bayern is insisted on keeping the star.
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