Following the capture of Wilfried Zaha, Manchester United continue to search for young players to recruit in 2013. An intriguing report in The Express suggests that the Red Devils are after another French left-back, Lucas Digne of Lille.
At just 19 years old, Digne emerged as Lille’s first-choice left-back in 2012. A product of their Academy, he has represented France at each level from Under-16 to Under-19, and looks certain to play a key role in the Under-21′s 2015 European qualifying campaign.
Digne’s potential has seen his reputation in Europe grow immensely in recent months. Clubs from all over Europe have been linked with the youngster, with Sky Sports reporting that Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Fiorentina – as well as United – had all sent scouts to watch Digne. Lille clearly recognise the teenager’s ability. In December he signed a long-term contract to keep him at the club until 2017. This will certainly ensure his transfer value rises.
Of course, Manchester United have no problems at left-back at this juncture. The signing of Alexander Büttner appears to have spurred Patrice Evra on to his best form in a red shirt for some time. A year ago many were starting to question Evra’s United career; now it appears he still has a future beyond his current contract (due to expire in 2014).
Büttner has shown glimpses that he could be Evra’s ideal replacement. His pace and attacking mentality are perfectly suited to being a United full-back, although he needs much more game time at the top level. A loan move within the Premier League could be highly beneficial to the German – Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck are prime examples of this. If a move for Digne is imminent, it would suggest that Ferguson acknowledges this fact. It may also indicate that Fabio’s Manchester United career is over.
Digne is certainly a player to monitor in the next year, and a move to a major European club looks highly likely. It will be fascinating to follow the left-back developments at Old Trafford with this in mind.