Noel Whelan has told BBC Radio Leeds following last week’s defeat to Everton that Leeds United need a player like Toffees left-back Lucas Digne, after the Frenchman laid on an assist during the 2-1 defeat to Carlo Ancelotti’s side – and surely the Leeds icon has it bang on?
Digne, 27, has become one of the Premier League’s best left-sided defenders with his performances for Everton. He is now just seven games shy of a century of matches for the Toffees – having a hand in 24 goals during that time, scoring five and creating 19. At £20million (Sky Sports), the France international has proved to be an absolute bargain for Everton.
Indeed, he proved his importance against Leeds. Digne was defensively solid against one of Leeds’ most in-form players in Raphinha – even though the Brazilian scored his fourth of the season, but also was excellent going forward, nullifying the threat of Luke Ayling going forward from right-back.
Of course, Whelan is clearly right that Leeds need a player like Digne. Most Premier League clubs would like a left-back of his quality – but where Whelan makes sense is that Leeds need an experienced international left-back that is good going forward as he is when it comes to defending. Digne is exactly that, but there is no chance Leeds could tempt him in leaving.
“What I would like to see is [Leeds] going out and getting an international [full-back],” Whelan told BBC Radio Leeds, as per Inside Futbol.“A very, very good effective full-back like Digne, who plays the role of defence, gets forward. They are out there; they are out there. Dallas can play certain positions, but I like seeing him in a more forward advanced role.”
Leeds are certainly lacking a permanent left-back. Stuart Dallas is first choice, but the Northern Ireland international’s versatility means he has been used on the right side of the defence, as a holding midfielder and even alongside Mateusz Klich in a more attacking role. Indeed, he scored against Leicester in the 3-1 away win – in which Patrick Bamford sparkled.
Gjanni Alioski continues to cover Dallas, but the North Macedonia international has entered the final six months of his contract and is free to talks to non-English sides about a pre-contract move. There were links with Galatasaray in January, quickly denied by more reputable sources. But his future remains in doubt.
The Athletic have claimed Romain Perraud is a target for Leeds, and while the 23-year-old has impressed for Brest in France’s top tier – he is will below the standard required by Whelan. It remains to be seen if and who Leeds bring in, this summer.