Mousa Dembele could be out until 2019 after Tottenham announced the Belgium international has damaged ligaments in his right ankle.
Dembele sustained the injury in Saturday’s 3-2 Premier League win at Wolves, having to be replaced after only seven minutes at Molineux, and Spurs fear he will not return until the new year.
The midfielder missed Tuesday’s Champions League win over PSV at Wembley and is expected to be out of their remaining Group B games against Inter and Barcelona.
Dembele will also be missing for upcoming London derbies against Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League, as well as December’s EFL Cup clash with the Gunners, but manager Mauricio Pochettino could soon have Victor Wanyama available.
Eric Dier is also in contention to feature in Saturday’s Premier League game away to Crystal Palace, but defenders Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) and Danny Rose (groin) are both still out.
“We hope that from the beginning of January he will be ready,” Pochettino said of Dembele’s injury. “After, it’s about the evolution, it’s very dynamic the evolution and how he’s going to recover.
“Always it’s about the patient, the player, and how he’s going to react after the injury. We hope he’ll be back as soon as possible and early in January to help the team.
“Always you miss all the players when they are injured. We were talking before, in 13 days we play five games. It’s less than three days, every two and a half days we’re competing. It’s a massive effort for the players. That is why I am so pleased.
“Of course I think we have some players back like Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama, they’ve started training with the group and we’ll see tomorrow if they can be available to be in the squad for Saturday.”