Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb will be out for six weeks and likely the rest of the campaign.
Nabil Bentaleb's season at Tottenham has suffered a potentially terminal blow with the news he must undergo an operation on his injured knee.
The club confirmed on their official website on Tuesday that Bentaleb has had surgery after picking up an injury in a recent fixture for the under-21 side.
It is expected to be six weeks until he returns to training, by which time the season will be nearly over. For Spurs to throw him into action in a potential title decider after weeks on the sidelines would be a big gamble, and looks unlikely.
The setback caps a miserable season for the Algeria international, who has been playing catch up all season after suffering an injury early on in the campaign.
When he has played he has often been selected with a second string side, and has not displayed the same intensity as he did last season, overshadowed by the development of Eric Dier, and outstanding form of Mousa Dembele.
Bentaleb is just 21, and there is no reason for Tottenham to suddenly kick him to the kerb after one disappointing season, but he will need to bounce back stronger next year to show he warrants a place in a squad which will likely strengthen in the summer if they, as expected, qualify for the Champions League.
This is not an injury which derails Tottenham's title fight by any means. He has made only two league starts and three appearances as a substitute, and this is more of a personal blow for the midfielder rather than for the club.
Here is a look at how fans reacted to news of his injury...
Maybe Bentaleb was struggling with this all the time this season - would explain his lack of impact.— Plus 32 (@tilts79) March 22, 2016
No doubting Nabil Bentaleb immense talent. I believe he will return stronger for the summer. I expect same for Ryan Mason.#COYS— K. H. A. L. E. B. (@k4334b) March 22, 2016
What an awful, injury ridden season it has been for Bentaleb. His poor pass at Old Trafford cost us a goal. Could cost us the league. #THFC— Callum (@_Cxllxm_) March 22, 2016
Bentaleb is young enough to be given a second chance at Spurs. We must remember the promise he showed last season. He will come good.— Ian Ayers (@ayers79) March 22, 2016
Tough season for Bentaleb, however he did look poor when he's played this season so maybe the injury is a blessing in disguise— King Rat (@ThePremiumRat) March 22, 2016