Having arrived at the San Siro from Serie A rivals Juventus during the summer, Mattia Caldara’s start to life at AC Milan has been heavily disrupted by injury.
And manager Gennaro Gattuso has confirmed that the defender will remain out for a further two months following Sunday's 3-2 win over Sampdoria.
The 24-year-old arrived in Milan alongside Gonzalo Higuain ahead of this season as part of the mega deal which saw Leonardo Bonucci make a swift return to Juventus in the other direction.
However, the defender is yet to make a Serie A appearance for his new side this term, and the latest update on his injury troubles does not make for encouraging reading.
Gattuso confirmed, via Antonio Vitiello and Sky Sport Italia: “We’re going to lose Caldara for a couple of months. He had a problem with the medial ligament, it’s a cursed season for him, really disappointing for the lad,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.
Caldara’s fitness struggles have coincided with yet another tough start to the season for his new side, with Milan currently languishing in eighth in the Serie A table.
The San Siro giants have won just four of their nine league games so far this term, and Gattuso’s side have been cut 13 points adrift of leaders, and Caldara’s old side, Juventus.
Caldara’s signing indicated a continued focus on a more youthful team set up, an initiative which Gattuso put in place after taking charge of the club which he represented with such distinction as a player last season.
The likes of Franck Kessie, Suso and Patrick Cutrone are among the young players to have been thrust into the limelight at the San Siro under the iconic Italian’s management, ahead of a number of more experienced stars.
Caldara’s signing in the summer seemed to represent a further step in the same direction, replacing the veteran Bonucci at the heart of defence, though the Italian’s injury troubles have blighted his progress so far at the San Siro.
Milan claimed an important 3-2 victory over Sampdoria on Sunday, with Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio continuing in central defence in Caldara’s absence, as Gattuso’s side earned a narrow victory which took them level on points with their opponents in the Serie A table.