Unai Emery has admitted Aston Villa defender Lucas Digne is currently more likely to stay than depart this summer following recent transfer speculation.
The left-back stunned Hibernian with a hat-trick of assists in the 5-0 Europa Conference League play-off first leg win on Wednesday night, giving Emery plenty to ponder.
Reports over the last few weeks have suggested Digne is very much heading for the exit door with Villa appearing to be merely waiting to sign a replacement before he’s sold.
But back-to-back stellar performances – the first being against Everton in the Premier League on Sunday – has made the ex-Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star stand out.
“We need two very good left backs and now we have an injury to Alex Moreno. Digne, always, we will have the respect of him because he’s very important for us,” Emery said.
“We were managing with him at the beginning of the season of the possibility (him leaving) maybe, if it was good for him, it was good for the club and we could have in the squad two good left-backs like with him and Alex Moreno.
“That could be a possibility. But today, tonight, he’s more closer to staying here than to leave,” Emery continued.
Many may wonder why it’s even a consideration to let Digne leave after such impressive displays in claret and blue but the 30-year-old has always been one of those Emery was thinking about sacrificing.
Villa believe they can bring in another option that is just as good – if not better – for a wage much less significant wage packet. If that can be achieved, Digne could depart even after his two 9/10 showings.