Newcastle United on alert as Everton boss Rafa Benitez makes big Lucas Digne transfer admission

Rafa Benitez has admitted Everton left-back Lucas Digne does want to leave – amid links with Newcastle United.

The well-backed Magpies today signed England international Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid and it was reported earlier in the week that Eddie Howe was lining up a move for Digne.

The French left-back has fallen out of favour at Everton.

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And Benitez spoke openly about it at his press conference this morning.

Lucas Digne of Everton. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

He told the Liverpool Echo: "I have no explanation [for why he wants to leave]. If someone is happy or not happy, you are paid big money and have to perform. Modern football, maybe the stats and the priorities have changed and maybe people think about themselves before the team."

He added: "Do we want to grow and improve or just to manage the egos?"

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Asked if there was a way back at Everton for the defender, Benitez added: "It's very simple. The 31st January, if he's still here, we have to deal with it."