Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez is expected to miss at least the rest of the calendar year after suffering a hamstring injury during training on Thursday, with manager Jose Mourinho confirming that the Chilean is set to be sidelined for a 'long time'.
It is the latest blow to Sanchez's United career after struggling to establish himself, both on and off the pitch, and being dropped from the squad altogether, despite being fit, for the Champions League clash with Young Boys at Old Trafford earlier this week.
The former Arsenal star would have been hoping to earn a place in the team for Saturday's Premier League meeting with Southampton, but now it looks like it could be January before he is seen on the pitch again.
Speaking at his weekly press conference on Friday, Mourinho explained that while no scans have yet been carried out, it is already clear that it is a bad injury.
"No scans yet, but the player is experienced and knows what his injury is," the boss said, via the official Man Utd app.
"Just from the painful scream and the way the injury happened I know that is it going to be for a long time. It is not a little muscular injury that in a week or 10 days the player is ready."
Suggesting it is worse than the problem currently being nursed by United defender Victor Lindelof, who is tipped to return in time for the busy Christmas period, Mourinho described Sanchez as having an 'aggressive muscular injury'.
"I don't want to risk by saying how long he will be out, but from the top of my experience I would say he is not playing this year," Mourinho told MUTV shortly before facing the wider media.
But while Sanchez will not be involved against Southampton, teenage full-back Diogo Dalot will and could potentially make his Premier League debut after only Champions League and Carabao Cup appearances for the club so far.
"This weekend will be the first call for Diogo Dalot," Mourinho told MUTV. "He is ready now. He had an important injury, surgery, then a second injury in the national team. But now he has been training for two weeks and we think he is ready."