Lucas Digne is reportedly set to follow Philippe Coutinho through the doors at Villa Park over the coming days, after a fee of around £25million was agreed with Everton for the left-back’s services.
Digne, 28, joined Everton in 2018 from Barcelona after failing to upstage Jordi Alba in his quest for the left-back spot at the Nou Camp.
Having signed for £18million, the Frenchman quickly became a fan favourite at Goodison Park for his creative quality on the left flank, replacing the attributes that Leighton Baines produced for the best part of a decade.
Earning a multitude of plaudits for his consistent displays, the Meaux-born star forced his way back into the French national team to become their second-choice at Euro 2020, although he played just a few minutes before an injury.
Yet a falling out with Rafael Benitez towards the Christmas period saw Digne become publicly unhappy with the Spaniard, citing a lack of tactical freedom as the reason for their bust-up.
And the signing of £17m left-back prodigy Vitaliy Mykolenko from Dynamo Kiev signalled the beginning of the end for Digne – who is set for a move to the Midlands under Steven Gerrard, according to Sky Sports.
A tweet by Sky Sports journalist Rob Dorsett told that after days of negotiations, and having beaten off interest from Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle, the Villans have finally agreed a deal for their man worth up to £25m.
Digne is due in Birmingham for a medical later on Tuesday, signalling a superb start to the window for Gerrard after he brought in his former team-mate Coutinho in an astonishing loan deal from Barcelona.
Coutinho has not played in England since he left Liverpool in 2018 for £105m, and was linked with moves to Tottenham, Everton and even his former club in the weeks leading up to the window.
But with Villa breaking even over the summer after spending £100m – the fee they recieved from Manchester City for Jack Grealish – there is a pot of money to be spent in January to aid Gerrard’s needs.
Gerrard took over Villa when they were just two points ahead of the relegation zone, following five defeats in a row for former boss Dean Smith.
He has taken charge of eight Premier League games, winning four – although with three of his losses coming against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, some reprieve can be offered for what can be considered a tough start to life in Birmingham.
The signings of Coutinho and Digne will boast quality, experience and importantly depth, something Villa tend to lack once their starting XI begins to fall foul of injuries and suspensions.
And the Liverpool legend couldn’t hide his delight at the signing of a player of Coutinho’s ilk.
“He is an outstanding footballer who boasts a highly impressive CV laced with plenty of elite honours,” Gerrard told the club’s official website.
“I am really pleased that we have been able to bring him on board and I am looking forward to working with him.
“He is a player I enjoyed playing with previously and I know the rest of the squad here at Aston Villa will benefit from his quality and experience. His presence will be invaluable given injuries and the AFCON tournament have reduced our attacking options.”