Chelsea top scorer Alvaro Morata is set to miss at least one month of action with a hamstring strain he picked up against Manchester City.
Antonio Conte’s £70m signing has excelled in the early stages of the season, firing in seven goals in nine games since his move from Real Madrid, but Morata hobbled off after just 10 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Premier League manager of the year claimed it was simply ‘precautionary’ shortly after the match, but a scan with the Spanish national team in Madrid have now revealed that Morata has a grade two hamstring tear.
His injury means that Spain will have to choose from the likes of Iago Aspas, Jose Callejon, Aritz Aduriz and uncapped Jonathan Vieira to play furthest forward in their next two international matches. Morata scored three times in two matches during the last international break, finding the net from the bench against Italy before putting two past Liechtenstein three days later.
At club level, Chelsea have Belgium international Michy Batshuayi as their only recognised striker for the time being with Diego Costa set to move to Atletico Madrid in January.
Batshuayi himself has started the season in strong goalscoring form with five goals in his last four games, but the scouting team and the board are now under the microscope for their failure to recruit another forward.
In terms of depth, the Blues could shuffle their pack to move fit-again Belgian winger Eden Hazard up into a striker role, though options deeper than that are severely limited.
Morata looks set to miss out on Premier League matches against Crystal Palace, Watford, Everton and Bournemouth, along with home and away Champions League matches against Roma. Following Morata’s impact on precedings at Atletico Madrid, the Spaniard will undoubtedly be sorely missed for his new club.