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Unai Emery admits Lucas Digne could leave Aston Villa this summer amid Nice links

Unai Emery admits Lucas Digne could exit Aston Villa amid Nice links

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has admitted that French defender Lucas Digne could exit the club before the transfer window closes next week.

The France international left-back has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 club OGC Nice, with the transfer expected to be finalised later this week.

The French club are hoping to borrow Digne from Villa on a season-long loan but with an option to make a permanent purchase next summer.

The former Everton man is also attracting interest from Italian champions Napoli and clubs in Saudi Arabia, including Al-Hilal. But Nice remain in pole position to land his signature.

They are looking to wrap up a deal quickly to avoid any late twists, while Villa already have a couple of replacements lined up, including Sevilla’s Marcos Acuna and Arsenal’s Nuno Tavares.

When addressing the prospect of Digne leaving Villa Park this summer, Emery said (via The Athletic): “We need two very good left backs, and now we have an injury to Alex Moreno.

“Lucas Digne, always, we will have the respect of him because he’s very important for us.

“We were managing with him at the beginning of the season of the possibility [of an exit] 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.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his long-term future, Digne remains a vital part of Villa’s set-up, and he demonstrated his ability in the victory over Hibernian at Easter Road.

The 30-year-old set up three goals as Emery’s side recorded an emphatic 5-0 victory over the Scottish Premiership side in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off clash.

Villa will resume Premier League duties this weekend when they travel to Turf Moor to take on newly promoted Burnley in the Claret and Blue showdown.

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