Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Aymeric Laporte will be out of action until next year while he recovers from knee surgery.
The Frenchman was stretchered off after 33 minutes of City’s 4-0 win over Brighton on August 31, picking up a significant knee injury after a challenge with Adam Webster.
City later confirmed that Laporte suffered cartilage and lateral meniscus damage and was forced to undergo surgery ahead of the international break.
The 25-year-old was denied his debut for France after being granted a rare call up by Didier Deschamps’ and he is now expected to be out for a prolonged period.
Ahead of a trip to Norwich on Saturday afternoon, Guardiola has confirmed that City will be without Laporte until at least January.
When asked how long it will take a key performer to recover, the City manager told a press conference on Friday: “Not long, five months, six months, next year… January or February.”
PEP ? (On duration of @Laporte‘s absence from injury) Not long, five months, six months, next year… January or February.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 13, 2019
In the absence of Laporte, City now only have two senior-level central defenders to call upon, in the form of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
The former is only just making his way back from injury, which means Fernandinho may have to step in and partner Otamendi at the back against Norwich.
The Premier League champions cannot afford to drop any points, even at this early stage of the season, with Liverpool storming clear at the top of the table with a 100% record from four matches.
Guardiola will hope that Stones returns to full fitness as soon as possible, but beyond that, he may have to start thinking about adding one or two extra reinforcements when the transfer market reopens.