Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte has undergone knee surgery that is expected to keep the centre-back sidelined for at least a couple of months.
Laporte had been in line to make his international debut with France this week after his exceptional form for the Premier League champions over the past year was finally rewarded with a first call-up by Didier Deschamps since March 2017.
However, he was stretchered off late in the first-half of City’s 4-0 win over Brighton on Saturday after a clash with the visitors’ Adam Webster.
“Aymeric Laporte has undergone surgery on his knee after damaging his cartilage and lateral meniscus during Saturday’s win over Brighton,” City said in a statement without giving a timeframe for Laporte’s return.
“The surgery, carried out by Dr Ramon Cugat in Barcelona, was successful and a more detailed prognosis will be provided in due course.”
Should Laporte be absent for a prolonged period, he will be badly missed with centre-back one of the few positions where City are not blessed with great strength in depth.
They did not buy a replacement for departed former captain Vincent Kompany in the summer transfer window and midfielder Fernandinho had to fill that position against Brighton with John Stones also sidelined by injury.
However, with City handed a favourable Champions League group stage draw alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta and not facing ‘top six’ opposition in the Premier League again until early November, there is hope Laporte will be back for the business end of the season.
“After successful completion of yesterday evenings surgery, I would like to say thanks for all your messages of support during the last few days. I feel truly loved and so thankful about it,” Laporte posted on Instagram.
“I am sad for not being able to join the national team and to not fulfil my dream of making the debut with Les Bleus.
“I would like to thank the coach for being so supportive. From now on we start counting down the days to go back to the pitch.”