Chelsea forward Christopher Nkunku is reportedly set for ‘weeks’ on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury.
The French international was forced off in the 22nd minute of Chelsea’s final pre-season match against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago after a challenge from Mat Hummels.
The Guardian has reported that the Blues’ £58 million ($73.9m) summer signing from RB Leipzig sustained meniscus damage in his left knee, which will rule him out of action for the next few weeks.
The 25-year-old, who will now almost certainly miss Chelsea’s Premier League season opener against Liverpool on August 13, has made a bright start to his time with the west London outfit but his absence is a concern for manager Mauricio Pochettino.
An extended layoff for Nkunku, who can play as an attacking midfielder or second striker, would increase the pressure on Todd Boehly’s team to strengthen in that part of the pitch.
They have been linked with Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise, who is a winger but can play in attacking midfield, while Neymar has also been mooted as a potential target after reportedly telling Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the club.
Chelsea scored a meagre 38 goals in 38 matches last season, so they need all the attacking options they can get to improve this time out and launch a genuine bid to return to the top-four.