By Kevin Phillips

9th Aug, 2020 | 4:13pm

Exclusive: Pundit 'Shocked' at Everton potentially selling 27-yr-old after ESPN update

Kevin Phillips insisted that Everton “cannot afford” to lose Lucas Digne this summer and would be “shocked” if Carlo Ancelotti sanctioned his sale.

The former Sunderland and Aston Villa striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that the 27-year-old is one of the Toffees’ best players and integral to the club’s progression.

The France international made 39 appearances in all competitions last season and added an impressive eight assists from left-back – the most of any Toffees player.

Digne arrived from Barcelona for a fee of £18million in 2018 and has since established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet at Goodison Park.

ESPN last month that both Chelsea and Manchester City have set sights on the French defender as they look to plug their leaky defences.

When asked by Football Insider if Digne was indispensable to Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Phillips said: “I do not think they can afford to lose him, to be honest.

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“He has done very well for them since he arrived. I would be very surprised if he was to leave the football club with Everton looking to move in the right direction and if you want to do that you cannot lose your best players. He is certainly one of their best defenders.

“I would be shocked if he was allowed to leave Everton this summer.”

Even if Digne stays, the Toffees could be in the market for a new left-back after the long-serving Leighton Baines announced his retirement last month.

Ancelotti revealed that he wanted Baines to sign a new contract: “We tried to keep him, I think it was important as he was not only professional but because he is still a good left-back.”

In other Everton news, Darren Bent reacts to star man’s worrying transfer reveal in potential “big blow” to Ancelotti.