Everton are on the verge of signing Lucas Digne from Barcelona. The Toffees are set to complete a deal reported to be in the region of £18 million for the player, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The French international is being targeted as a long-term replacement for veteran full-back Leighton Baines.
That approach makes complete sense. Baines has struggled with injury in recent years and, at the age of 33, his ability to perform at the Premier League level has diminished in the past two seasons or so.
The arrival of Digne has seen the Everton vice-captain linked with the exit door. According to TEAMtalk, the Toffees are ready to force Baines out of the club this summer, with Newcastle United and Burnley said to be on red alert. Baines is also being linked with a move to the United States.
But Everton would be foolish to let him leave.
True, Baines’ best days are behind him. But at 33 he is one of Everton’s most experienced players and is still in great shape. His role in the dressing room cannot be understated and Everton must not just allow a player with 403 appearances, 38 goals and 66 assists for the club walk out the door.
If they did, it would leave them in the same weak position they were last season at left-back, with just one first-team performer at their disposal.
Letting Baines leave would nullify the solution to the problem Everton had last season and would be a massive mistake by the Toffees.