Lucas Digne’s Everton future has been thrown into doubt after he was dropped from the 18-man squad for their win over Arsenal for arguing with boss Rafa Benitez.
The French left-back was nowhere to be seen when the Toffees pulled off an impressive comeback to beat the Gunners 2-1 on Monday night, with Ben Godfrey being played out of position to fill the gap left by Digne.
And according to The Athletic, the reason for Digne’s absence was due to an argument he had with Benitez in Spanish, leaving the Everton boss to discipline the squad’s only-recognised left-back before their crucial game at Goodison Park.
The report goes on to claim that Digne’s relationship with Benitez has declined in recent months with the pair disagreeing over tactics, while trust on both sides is said to have erroded.
The Athletic go on to claim that Digne and Benitez have rarely seen eye to eye since the Spaniard took on the Everton job, with the former Barcelona man often challenging his manager with ‘growing regularity’.
With tempers boiling over and the two still at loggerheads, it could spell the end for Digne’s time on Merseyside.
While it is less than a year since Digne signed a new long-term deal with the club, he could now push for an exit as early as January should wounds not heal quickly.
Marcel Brands’ departure this week – who was influential in selling Everton to Digne – has been a huge blow for the former Barcelona full-back, given how the Dutchman helped convince him to swap the Nou Camp for Goodison.
Digne also wanted to test himself among the elite once again and Everton’s slump in form has seen them slide further and further away from their aim of European qualification.
While it remains to be seen if Digne will be sold, Everton’s higher-ups will be keen for the issue between the two to be resolved, given how Digne is their only recognised left-back.
But should Digne and Benitez’s relationship continue to fracture and Godfrey continue to fill in where needed, then Digne may just get his wish of wanting out of Merseyside.