By Matthew Shaw

15th Jan, 2022 | 12:30pm

Paul Merson hits back at Everton 'disaster' as Lucas Digne exit sealed

Paul Merson has destroyed Rafa Benitez after Everton confirmed the exit of Lucas Digne to Aston Villa this week.

The Frenchman moved to our Premier League rivals in a deal worth £25million, and it has been labelled as a “disaster.”

Merson has not held back on his assessment of Benitez, calling him “Childish” for resorting to such extreme tactics.

Writing in his column headered “Digne Deal is a Rafa Disaster” for the Daily Star (print edition, 15 January), Merson took aim with both barrels at The Toffees.

“Rafa Benitez should have swallowed his pride with Lucas Digne,” he wrote. “I’m worried what direction he’s taking Everton in now.

“Just because you’ve probably had an argument on the training ground, don’t chop your nose off to spite your face.

“Digne is one of Everton best players. Swallow your pride, sit him down, give him a fine, and get him back in the team, even if he doesn’t like you.

“It’s childish from the manager.”

Disaster?

It’s hard to disagree with Merson, as much as we hate to say it.

Everton got everything so badly wrong with this deal, and as things stand, we are considerably weaker at a time where we really didn’t need to be.

One positive is that Digne was replaced before he left in the shape of Vitality Mykolenko, but the young Ukrainian arrived with little experience and now he has to learn on the job.

When struggling in the Premier League, that is the last thing you need in such an important area of the pitch.

Digne is now at Aston Villa and Benitez has a lot of questions to answer, something that doesn’t work in his favour given his lack of popularity already.

Let’s hope this eventually works in our favour, but right, it’s not looking very good at Goodison Park.

In other Everton news, this is what Lucas Digne did when Vitaliy Mykolenko was introduced v Brighton

Be sure to follow Goodison News on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on Everton and more exclusive interviews with Kevin Campbell