Tuesday 14 August 2018

'Maybe Liverpool fans are angry because I turned them down twice' - New Everton signing takes aim at Kop

Everton new signing Lucas Digne poses for a photo
Everton new signing Lucas Digne poses for a photo

Eleanor Crooks

Lucas Digne expects to have a battle on his hands to displace Leighton Baines in the Everton side.

The 25-year-old was unveiled to the media at Everton's training ground on Friday after his move from Barcelona.

And the French international aimed a barb at the fans of arch rivals Liverpool.

Reds fans took to social media to taunt their Everton counterparts after it emerged Digne has a tattoo on his chest that reads: "I never walk alone".

Digne said: "My tattoo has a story but it's not about football. When I was three or four years old, I went for my first day at school and my parents gave me a necklace with these words. Maybe Liverpool fans are so angry against me because I said two times no to Liverpool. I'm blue."

Digne won a host of trophies with Barca, and Paris St Germain before that, but was not central to either side and has made no secret of his desire to be first choice at Goodison Park.

To do that, he will have to secure his position ahead of Baines, who has made more than 400 appearances for Everton since joining the club from Wigan in 2007.

Digne said: "I know him and everybody I think knows him. We speak together, he's a very good guy, he said to me 'welcome' and he's so friendly. I think the competition is very good for the team.

"If in every position you have very good players it's hard for the coach. I want to play every game. I'm young and I need to progress."

Baines was sidelined by injury for more than three months last season, which exposed Everton's lack of cover at left-back, with Cuco Martina forced to play out of position.

After speaking to Everton boss Marco Silva and director of football Marcel Brands, Digne was left in no doubt this was the move he should make.

He said: "Everton showed a lot of interest about me during two months and when I spoke with Marcel or the coach, I said, 'yes it's a very good project and I want to be part of this'. For me it's perfect.

"It's the best league in the world and I want to play here. It's an exciting challenge. I think everybody wants to be better than the last year. We want to be part of the top six."

Everton midfield duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye also played a part in encouraging Digne to come to Merseyside, while he is excited about linking up with fellow summer signing Richarlison.

"I saw a few games when he played for Watford and I said, 'Oh this guy is crazy'," said the Frenchman. "He plays very well, he's so young, he has a lot of quality, he's very technical. I think we can do very good things together."

Digne also revealed he has tried to tempt his former Barcelona team-mate Yerry Mina, who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, to follow him to Everton.

"I hope to see him here but I don't know," said Digne. "He'll choose the best for his career and we will see. I said to him to come. He's a good player and a good guy."

Digne is hoping to make his debut in Everton's final pre-season friendly against Valencia at Goodison Park on Saturday, and he was keen to reassure Toffees' fans he has no affinity to derby rivals Liverpool.


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