Everton full-back Lucas Digne has been left out of the last two match squads, but the reason for this is not down to an injury or suspension.
Instead, the reason is potentially far more terminal, with The Athletic reporting that Digne and manager Rafael Benitez have lost each others trust following an argument.
Digne, a French international who has appeared for the French national team 43 times, has not seen eye to eye with the former Liverpool manager since his arrival in the summer, with Digne believing his adoption of more negative tactics are stifling his creative numbers.
The Athletic are reporting that Digne recently challenged the Spaniard, and the pair had a tense argument in Spanish prior to the Arsenal game, which led to Benitez opting for Ben Godfrey as a left-back instead of Digne.
Being taken off of set piece duties this season has only exacerbated the issue, further denting the pair’s relationship, with both sides feeling that their relationship has eroded potentially beyond repair.
Digne is yet to register a goal or assist this season from his 13 Premier League appearances, a clear drop from the numbers he has put in every year since joining Everton from Barcelona in 2018.
Historically, he has contributed to at least seven goals in the Premier League every season, with seven assists in his last two seasons and four goals and four assists in his debut year.
Losing a player of his quality would be a big blow for Everton, with not many other left-backs available in the market who can match the 28-year-old. Furthermore, it has been less than a year since he signed a new long-term deal, with the presumption that Carlo Ancelotti was leading Everton in the right direction.
Whether the pair can mend their relationship over Christmas remains to be seen, but with January approaching rapidly it could be a case of both parties deciding a separation is the most appropriate course of action.