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Lucas Digne has aimed a thinly-veiled dig in the direction of Everton boss Rafa Benitez following the completion of his move to Aston Villa on a four-and-a-half-year deal. The Frenchman became Steven Gerrard’s second signing of the January transfer window on Thursday morning after falling out with his former manager at Goodison Park during the first half of the campaign.
Digne had over three years left to run on his contract at Everton but asked to leave the club this month in order to put an end to his strained working relationship with Benitez.
He was dropped by the Spaniard for the match against Arsenal in December and failed to work his way back into contention as a result of the differences between the pair.
Benitez went on to question Digne’s commitment and work ethic on a number of occasions, with the defender wasting no time in firing a shot of his own shortly before his move to Villa was confirmed.
He appeared to blame Benitez for the situation as he explained his feelings in a lengthy Instagram post aimed at the club’s supporters on Wednesday evening.
“Everything must come to an end. I just did not expect it to end this way,” said Digne.
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“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 the best for this club and not only for themselves – and to them I can only say thank you from my heart: I wish you the best!
“Thank you, to all you wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians. It has been an honour and a true pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people, because a club does 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.”
Digne made 127 appearances for Everton over the course of his three-and-a-half-year spell at Goodison Park, chipping in with six goals and 20 assists in the process.
Villa have reportedly agreed to pay up to £25million for the defender’s services after completing an ambitious loan move for Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho earlier this week.
Gerrard spoke of his delight after Digne’s capture was officially announced, insisting that he could be primed to play a big role in shaping the fortunes of the west Midlands outfit over the next few years.
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“When Lucas became available we jumped at the opportunity to bring him to the club,” Gerrard told the club website.
“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.”
Digne, who is a regular at international level with France, will be hoping to get off to a winning start with Villa when they host Manchester United in their next Premier League outing on Saturday.
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