From now until the start of the new season, we’ll be highlighting several players who could be key performers in Dream Team this coming season.
And let’s start with Lucas Digne (£3.0m), since he has the potential to be the best value-for-money defender in the game in 2021/22.
The Frenchman fell just short of 100 points last season as Everton’s early season optimism gave way to mediocrity as they ultimately slumped to a mid-table finish.
The Toffees’ underwhelming second half of the season limited Digne’s returns despite the fact he provided seven league assists – the same tally as Raheem Sterling, Patrick Bamford and Sadio Mane.
His crossing from the left flank was a key contributor to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s best-ever season in terms of goals.
The Englishman is arguably the best header of a ball in the Premier League, meaning Digne couldn’t ask for a better target when he ventures into the final third.
There’s seemingly no reason this combination won’t continue to thrive throughout the season ahead but the main reason Digne may prosper is the change in management at Goodison Park.
Rafa Benitez may not employ the most entertaining style of football but he knows how to organise a defence.
Based on historical precedent, it would be reasonable to expect more clean sheets from Everton this season and therefore greater Dream Team returns for their defenders, of which Digne is the standout option.
The former Barcelona left-back starts at £3.0m this season, a hugely tempting price for a defender who averages an assist every 5.5 games in the Premier League.
For comparison, both Andy Robertson (£4.0m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£4.5m) also provided seven assists last season and they’re both in the top ten most-expensive defenders Dream Team has to offer.
Digne also has a relatively favourable run of games to start the season as Everton face the following teams in August and September: Southampton, Leeds, Brighton, Burnley, Aston Villa, Norwich.
Of those six opponents, only Leeds finished above the Toffees in 2020/21 and then only on goal difference.
Nothing is guaranteed of course, especially with a new manager at the helm who isn’t exclusively popular among the Goodison faithful, but most indications suggest Digne is an excellent Dream Team option from the get-go.
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