London – France defender Lucas Digne says he is excited by the challenge of playing in the Premier League after he signed for Everton for a reported £19 million from Barcelona on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old left-back, capped 21 times and who was on standby for the World Cup squad, signed a five-year deal with the club, which outlayed £40 million on Brazilian forward Richarlison from Watford last week.
Digne, who failed to gain a regular first team place at Barcelona after moving from Paris Saint-Germain following an impressive loan period at AS Roma, will likely replace veteran Leighton Baines as the first choice left-back.
“I am not afraid, I am excited,” he told Evertontv.
“For me, it is a new challenge to discover a country, a league, people and a great club such as Everton. It is fabulous.”
Digne, who amongst several winners medals has accrued two French league titles with PSG including a clean sweep of the domestic trophies in the 2014/15 campaign and the 2017/18 domestic double with Barcelona, said he brought to Everton the experience of playing with some of the best players in the world.
“I played good football in Rome and I played well, too, in Barcelona,” said Digne, who was a member of the France squad that won the World U-20 title in 2013.
“I progressed a lot as a player and as a person by playing with the best players in the world.
“When you play with the best players it helps you build your character and, of course, it helps on the training ground and during games, too, because you want to give the best of you.”
Everton manager Marco Silva said Digne’s enthusiasm for his project in what will be his first season too at the club persuaded him to sign him.
“It is important to say that he is a player who, from the first moment he was contacted, showed enormous desire to play at Everton,” said Silva.
“He is a high-quality player, aggressive, with good technical ability and in the past five seasons he has played two years at Paris St-Germain, one in Roma and for the past two seasons he has demonstrated his clear quality in Barcelona.
“Lucas is a player who will add competitiveness in a position where we only had Leighton Baines last season and he is accustomed to winning.”