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Lucas Digne has told Everton fans he “didn’t expect it to end this way” as he bids farewell ahead of his £ 25million move to Aston Villa.

Villa beat competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham for the signing of Digne, who was due to travel to Birmingham on Wednesday for a medical.

The 28-year-old’s exit comes after a falling out with Rafael Benitez over the team’s tactics, which has seen him ruled out since the 4-1 home loss to Liverpool on December 1.

The Everton manager revealed earlier this month that Digne had asked to leave the club and appeared to accuse the left-back of putting his needs before those of the team.

But Digne hit back on Wednesday night, saying in an Instagram post that “sometimes it just takes one outside person to destroy a great love story.”

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Last season, Digne was the creator of Everton’s Best Luck

“Thank you for three and a half years in blue,” Digne wrote. “From day one the Evertonians received me with a lot of warm feelings, and I am always grateful to them.

“I loved being part of the Everton family. I have always worked hard to give back to the fans on and off the pitch. I loved the unity of the fans and the players, not just Goodison (Park) one day match but also in everyday life.

“Only a year ago I signed a new contract with the ambition to stay at this club for a long time, giving everything for my club, for the development and the project I believed in – and for the passionate fans.

“My dream was to help the club return to their place. Wearing the captain’s armband in some games has always made me proud.

“Everything has to come to an end. I just didn’t expect it to end like this. What happened and some things that were said about me last month made me very sad.

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Transfer Talk panel discusses qualities Lucas Digne would bring to Aston Villa if he were to leave Everton before month’s end

“But I’m not going into a war of words with anyone. The club don’t deserve this, the fans don’t deserve this – and to be honest, I don’t think I deserve this.

“There are so many good and honest people in Everton and the surrounding area who want the best for this club and not just for themselves – and to them I can only say from the bottom of my heart I wish you the best !

“Thank you to all of you, wonderful, proud and passionate, true Evertonians. It has been an honor and a real pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people – because a club does not belong to one player or one manager, but to the fans, I will always carry you with me in my heart wherever I go.

“Sometimes it only takes one outside person to destroy a great love story.”

Digne’s likely arrival at Villa comes just a week after Steven Gerrard brought former Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho to the club on loan from Barcelona.

Villa is also interested in signing Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma as he begins the final 18 months of his contract at Amex Stadium.

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Much progress has been made on the new state-of-the-art Everton Stadium at Bramley Moore Dock

Everton have already signed Ukraine international Vitaliy Mykolenko to replace Digne.

The Toffees have also secured the services of Rangers and Scotland right-back Nathan Patterson in a deal worth £ 16million earlier in the January window.

So far this season, Digne has played 15 games and scored once for Everton, who are 15th in the table ahead of their clash at Norwich on Saturday.

Would worthy suit Villa?

Analysis by Peter Smith of Sky Sports …

What will the French international bring to Steven Gerrard’s squad?

Digne’s fallout with Rafael Benitez has darkened what appear to be his final weeks with the club, but over the past three and a half seasons he has been a key player for Everton.

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Sky Sports’ Peter Smith explains what Lucas Digne would bring to Aston Villa if his plans to move from Everton were completed

Since arriving in 2018, he has recorded more assists than any other Everton player and paved the way for his team in assists and chances created last season.

Everton have signed 22-year-old Vitaliy Mykolenko as a replacement and although the Ukraine international has Champions League experience and played in the Euro last summer, he clearly cannot match the quality and experience. of Digne at this time.

Digne, after all, has over 40 caps for France and has won titles with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

It will be his exciting creative stats for Aston Villa fans, however. At 28, Digne is at his peak and at a level where his offensive production ranks among the best of the Premier League full-backs.

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