It is understood that one of Steven Gerrard’s first signings at Aston Villa could be Everton left-back Lucas Digne, with the player reportedly surplus to requirements at the Toffees.
Since arriving at the West Midlands club in the autumn, we have seen some clues as to how Gerrard wants his team to play and securing the acquisition of Digne further adds to this.
Available for £25 million, this is believed to be a relative bargain when considering the Frenchman’s stats, however, Villa could well get him for less if they are smart with Digne out of favour on Merseyside – especially after the signing of Vitaliy Mykolenko.
A good option for Villa?
It appears that playing a style of football with attacking, overlapping full-backs could become key to the way that Gerrard wants his Villa side to play long term and Digne may well be fundamental in making this happen.
Should full-backs become somewhat of a specialist position for Gerrard, then the 28-year-old Everton player is as good as he could get in the current circumstances.
During his time at Goodison Park, Digne has forged a reputation for creating goals and even scoring, recording 20 assists and dispatching six goals in 127 appearances. While it seems that he is an attacking force by nature, he can also contribute defensively. This term already, he has a 73.3 per cent tackle success rate, compared to Villa’s Matt Targett with 37.1 per cent.
Plan taking shape for Gerrard?
Based on his success at Rangers, the former Liverpool skipper obviously likes his teams to play creative, attacking football and it appears that this has translated to his Villa squad.
While he is still getting to know his players, he will clearly have an idea of how he wants to mould his team, in addition to the type of personnel that he needs. The desire to sign Digne is clearly one indicator as to the way he wants to play, with full-backs pushing forward, flooding the opposition and creating chances for the likes of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins.
It could also mean that Gerrard experiments with three centre backs, allowing the likes of Digne to concentrate more on the attacking side of his game, which is certainly another option.