Aston Villa announced the signing of France international Lucas Digne from Everton on Thursday in a deal reportedly worth up to £25 million ($47 AUD million), on the same day Newcastle signed NZ striker Chris Wood from Burnley for the same amount.
Left-back Digne joined Villa manager and former Liverpool player Steven Gerrard, before taking a bitter dig at Everton boss – and Gerrard’s former Liverpool manager – Rafa Benitez.
Digne wrote “sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair” in a clear attack on the manager who exiled him from the Toffees’ starting side.
Watch the world’s best footballers every week with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. LIVE coverage from LaLiga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Carabao Cup, EFL & SPFL. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >
The Frenchman became Gerrard’s second signing in the January transfer window after Philippe Coutinho’s loan arrival from Barcelona.
“When Lucas became available we jumped at the opportunity to bring him to the club,” said Gerrard.
“To sign a player of his pedigree and quality in the January window is a great addition to our squad and his arrival excites me and everyone associated with Aston Villa.” The 28-year-old fell out of favour at Everton under manager Rafael Benitez, who last week revealed that he had asked to leave.
Digne, who had not played for Everton since the defeat by Liverpool on December 1, made clear in an Instagram post on Wednesday that he was unhappy with the way he had been treated.
The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain player said he had signed a new contract at Goodison Park last year with the ambition of staying at the club for a “long time”.
“What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad,” he said.
“But I will not enter a war on words with anyone.” He added: “Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.” In a fresh Instagram post on Thursday, Digne wrote the brief message “Let’s go”. Villa, who are 14th in the Premier League, host Manchester United on Saturday.
MAGPIES POACH RIVAL’S KEY STRIKER
Newcastle announced the signing of striker Chris Wood from fellow Premier League strugglers Burnley on Thursday — the second arrival in the January transfer window under their new Saudi-led ownership.
The 30-year-old, who has signed a two-and-a-half year contract, has moved to St James’ Park for an undisclosed fee, which reports said was £25 million ($47 million).
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was seeking attacking reinforcements for his side, with Callum Wilson facing eight weeks on the sidelines following a calf injury.
Wood is the club’s second signing this month following the arrival of England international full-back Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid last week.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: “Chris is an important signing for us at a crucial time and I’m very pleased we have been able to move quickly and bring him here.
“He is a very dangerous attacking threat, has a physicality and character that I really like, and he has vast experience in the Premier League. He will be a great fit for us.”
The New Zealand international scored 53 goals in 165 matches for Burnley since joining from Leeds in 2017, including three goals in 21 games this season.
He signed in time to make his debut in Saturday’s match against relegation-threatened Watford at St James’ Park, “I have played at St. James’ Park a few times and it’s an amazing place, so to have the chance to represent this club with those incredible supporters behind me and my teammates is very special,” he added.
Newcastle, who have not won a major trophy since 1969, face a struggle just to stay in the Premier League. They are one place off the foot of the table after a single win in 19 games.
But three months after a controversial takeover by a group led by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund was completed, the club are desperate to strengthen in transfer window as they battle for survival.