This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to judge how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Everton spent £18million in the summer of 2018 to lure Lucas Digne (BBC) away from the glitz of Champions League football and La Liga titles with FC Barcelona, and have never looked back.
Digne revealed shortly after the move that he had requested Barca sold him (Daily Mail), as Didier Deschamps overlooked his availability for France’s 2018 World Cup squad through a lack of game time.
His performances in Spain were often below what was needed for a team pushing for honours on multiple fronts, though, and former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez allegedly demanded that the Catalan outfit parted ways with Digne (Don Balon) after being held to a draw by Espanyol in February ’18.
The Uruguayan striker was furious with Digne’s performance in the clash that saw Jordi Alba rested, and labelled the Frenchman and teammate Nelson Semedo responsible for Barca failing to win.
Suarez ultimately got his wish, but a fresh lease of life in England saw Digne become a defender that would return to the international stage, and scoop the Toffees’ Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards in his first campaign at Goodison Park.
Digne’s case for the double honours came after playing the most key passes per ninety minutes of any left-back in the Premier League to have featured more than thrice last season, with the Frenchman making 2.2, according to WhoScored data, from which he created four goals.
The Meaux-born full-back also scored four times and was named as WhoScored’s Man of the Match on four occasions – the first time he had earned the accolade since a loan spell with AS Roma for the 2015/16 term.
Digne’s return to form saw Tottenham Hotspur sound out his availability in the recent summer window, but as Everton were loath to losing him, suggested his market value had doubled from the £18m spent a year before (Mirror).
Football valuation site TransferMarkt may not be in the same boat as Everton’s chiefs, but they likewise felt Digne’s value had risen last season, and moved his price tag from £16.2m in August 2018 to £27m in June.
Everton would certainly be able to demand a hefty sum for Digne if anyone tried their luck hard enough, either way, with the Frenchman kicking off the new campaign as strongly as he ended the last.
In his six Premier League outings to date, the LOSC Lille product has already assisted two goals and another in the Carabao Cup, during a Man of the Match worthy appearance against Lincoln City (WhoScored), in which he scored a sensational inch-perfect free-kick.
Particularly in a weekend where Digne was a part of a chaotic backline against Sheffield United, he showed his threat in attack with a flurry of crosses that should have caused more of a threat had it not been for the Blues’ static offence.
Only Gylfi Sigurdsson has played more key passes than Digne at Everton this league term, too.
Everton fans, what would Digne’s market value be if someone tried to poach the Frenchman in January? Let us know in the comments below…