Manchester City have suffered the first injury setback of the season.
Kevin De Bruyne has suffered knee ligament damage that could keep him out for up to three months. This will be quite a serious obstacle in their bid to retain the Premier League title.
It is understood that De Bruyne tore the lateral ligament in his right knee during training on Wednesday. City said in a statement that the Belgian is undergoing tests to assess the extent of the injury, but the player himself expects to be out for 9 to 12 weeks.
This is a similar injury to the one he suffered against Everton in January 2016. Back then, De Bruyne missed 12 matches in all competitions for the club.
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If De Bruyne is out for 12 weeks this time around as well, he will be unavailable for City’s next ten Premier League games. His expected date of return is right on line for a Manchester derby comeback in November.
Although Pep Guardiola has a squad blessed with many talented players, De Bruyne is pretty much the best midfielder in the league. His absence is certain to affect City’s fortunes, especially over such a long time period as speculated.
The 27-year-old enjoyed the best season of his career under Guardiola last year. He scored 8 goals and assisted a league-high 16 in Premier League play.
De Bruyne enjoys the unbridled faith of Guardiola. This was proven when he captained City on a number of occasions at the end of last season. His style of play means that there are few true replacements for him in the world.
City do, however, possess attackers of the quality of Mahrez and Sane on the wings. This might enable a central switch and an increased role for Bernardo Silva during the intervening period.