Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell could be sidelined for the rest of the campaign after the club confirmed that he will undergo knee surgery.
The England international suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in the 4-0 Champions League win over Juventus on November 23.
The Blues felt that he did not require an operation. A conservative rehabilitation approach was followed, but it has not worked out as planned.
Chilwell was touted to return in January, but the Blues have now confirmed that the defender has not made much progress in his recovery.
The 25-year-old will have a surgical procedure on his knee, which is likely to rule him out for the remainder of the current season.
The news will come as a big blow for the Blues, considering Chilwell was in a sparkling run of form before the unfortunate setback.
Marcos Alonso has provided cover at left wing-back in Chilwell’s absence, but the Spaniard has struggled to offer the defensive assurance.
He has been vulnerable when it comes to his positioning, and the Blues could be tempted to pursue a new signing at the turn of the year.
Emerson was previously the third-choice option for the Blues, and they could recall him from his season-long loan stint at Lyon next month.
Ian Maatsen, on loan at Coventry City, is another choice for Thomas Tuchel. The German could also be interested in a new winter recruit.
Lucas Digne has been regularly linked with the Blues amid his fall-out with manager Rafael Benitez at Everton. He could be a realistic option.
The Frenchman has vast Premier League experience. He likes to play an attacking style of football but is also assured in defensive situations.
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