Aston Villa set to beat Chelsea to signing of forgotten Everton star Lucas Digne

Aston Villa are reportedly set to win the race to sign Everton left-back Lucas Digne.

Digne is eager leave Everton after falling out with manager Rafa Benitez and has been the subject of widespread interest from rival Premier League clubs.

The 28-year-old has been frozen out by the Toffees, not appearing since their 4-1 defeat by rivals Liverpool on December 1.

Despite that, Digne has had no shortage of suitors, with Villa, Newcastle, Chelsea and West Ham all contacting Everton this month.

But according to theDaily Mail, the French defender will be joining Villa this week, with Steven Gerrard’s influence key to beating the competition.

Villa had offered the services of winger Anwar El Ghazi as a makeweight in the deal, but Everton are insisting on a straight cash transfer.

Digne joined Everton from Barcelona for an initial fee of £18million in 2018 and has gone on to make 127 appearances for the club.

Personal terms are yet to be agreed with Digne, but are not expected to be a problem, with the defender keen to move this month.

According toSky Sports, the transfer fee is likely to be between £20m and 25m, due in part to the fact that Digne is under contract with Everton until June 2025.

Benitez made it clear last week that Digne was on the market after telling the club he wanted a January transfer.

"He's been very clear," Benitez said. "I want to ask a question to every fan and former players: what Peter Reid would do if a player comes out and says he doesn't want to be there?

"That's it, simple. I've had a couple of conversations with him and he told me what he thought so what do you expect the manager to do when a player is thinking of leaving?

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"Fans, former players, what Peter Reid would say if a player goes to a manager and says he doesn't want to be here?"

Villa have been busy in the January transfer window, with Digne set to be their second signing following the arrival of Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona.

The Birmingham club have also discussed a move for Yves Bissouma, but Brighton may still price them out of a move by insisting on a fee of £50m.

Meanwhile, Villa have also reportedly made an offer worth up to £800,000 for Dundee United defender Kerr Smith.

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