Premier League • England

Devastating blow for Pochettino with new Chelsea signing already injured and facing long lay off

Christopher Nkunku and Ben Chilwell of Chelsea

Christopher Nkunku and Ben Chilwell play in Chelsea friendly

Mauricio Pochettino has been rocked by an injury to new forward Christopher Nkunku, with a report revealing just how long the player will be out for.

Chelsea announced they had signed Nkunku from German club RB Leipzig on June 20. According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea spent £53million when bringing the attacking midfielder to England.

Nkunku has excelled in attack alongside fellow new signing Nicolas Jackson during Chelsea’s pre-season preparations. Their partnership is one of the reasons why Chelsea fans have become hopeful their team might be able to compete for a top four finish in the Premier League, having only managed 12th spot last term.

However, Pochettino will have to do without Nkunku for an extended period. The Frenchman picked up a knee injury during Chelsea’s 1-1 friendly draw with Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.

The match was played on a terrible pitch in the US, as the stadium had only just hosted a concert not long before.

Chelsea initially hoped Nkunku would only be out of action for a matter of weeks. But in a club statement, Chelsea have confirmed the star will have to have surgery to correct the issue.

The Blues only revealed Nkunku will be out for ‘an extended period’, though The Guardian have shed more light on the situation. They state that Nkunku will be out for three and a half months.

Should the 25-year-old’s rehabilitation go smoothly, then that means he should be available for Pochettino again on around November 22. Nkunku’s first game back could therefore be the trip to Newcastle United on November 25.

Christopher Nkunku to miss start of new Chelsea season

Nkunku will be gutted about the injury. He will have been hoping to continue his electric form from pre-season and start off his Chelsea career with plenty of goals. Instead, he will have to support the team while he recovers from surgery.

Nkunku is not the only player to have been handed a major setback at Chelsea recently. The club have announced centre-back Wesley Fofana will miss most of the 2023-24 campaign after sustaining a knee injury of his own.

Following Fofana’s injury, Chelsea were forced to dip back into the transfer market by snaring Axel Disasi from Monaco. And the same could happen with Nkunku.

Chelsea are preparing to re-enter discussions with Juventus over a possible player-plus-cash deal for Dusan Vlahovic. The Blues will attempt to include Romelu Lukaku in the transfer, as he is eager to get out of Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, Pochettino is risking the wrath of Todd Boehly amid claims he does not want a world-class player to join Chelsea, as per a report.