Digne says goodbye to Everton with dig at Benitez ahead of Aston Villa move

Lucas Digne has accused Everton boss Rafa Benitez of forcing him out of the club in a sensational attack launched on the eve of the Frenchman's transfer to Aston Villa.

Villa are on the verge of sealing a £25million deal for the left-back, who had been frozen out at Goodison Park.

The 28-year-old hasn't featured for the Toffees since the 4-1 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool at the start of December.

Steven Gerrard's free-spending side look set to end his Merseyside exile by making him their second signing this month after the stunning loan capture of Philippe Coutinho.

And Digne has aimed a stinging parting shot at Benitez in his final hours as a Blue – claiming that "sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair" in an emotional Instagram post.

He wrote: "Thank you for 3 1/2 years in Blue. From Day One the Evertonians have received me with a lot of warm feelings, and I am forever thankful for that.

"I have loved to be a part of the Everton family. I have always worked hard to give back to the fans on and off the pitch. I have loved the unity of fans and players. Not only Goodison on a match day but also in everyday life.

"Only one year ago I signed a new contract with the ambition of staying in this club for a long time, giving everything for my club, for the development and project, that I believed in – and for the passionate fans.

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"My dream was helping the club back where it belongs. Wearing the captain's armband in some matches always made me proud.

"Everything must come to an end. I just did not expect it to end this way. What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad.

"But I will not enter a war on words with anyone. The club don't deserve that, the fans don't deserve that – and to be honest, I don't feel that I deserve that.

"There are so many good and decent people in and around Everton who want to the best for this club and not only for themself [sic] – and to them i can only say from my heart: I wish you the best!

"Thank you, to all you wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians. It has been a an honour and a true pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people – because a club do not belong to a player or a manager, but to the fans. I will always carry you with me in my heart wherever I go.

"Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.

"All the best to @everton and Evertonians".

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Digne's impending move will bring his three-and-a-half-year stay on Merseyside to an end.

The full-back was a popular figure at Goodison Park before his public bust-up with Benitez this year. Digne was even Everton's top assist-maker last year after laying on seven goals and had attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea, Napoli and Inter Milan as well as Newcastle.

But it's Villa who have won the race for the exiled ace as they continue their ambitious winter spending under Gerrard.

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