Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is facing up to three months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, reports Paul Joyce of the Times.
Barkley has missed all of Everton’s pre-season so far having suffered from a double hernia on the dawn of the new campaign.
He underwent surgery on that problem and the consensus had been that the midfielder would return before the end of this month and, crucially, the end of the transfer window.
However, it now seems he will miss both of those deadlines and could be facing up to 12 weeks on the sidelines because of a new problem.
According to Joyce, Barkley broke down with a new hamstring injury in training last week as he sought to step up his recovery from the hernia problem.
Everton are now waiting on further information about the problem but are reportedly consigning themselves to the fact that Barkley will need surgery on the problem.
That would see him miss up to 12 weeks, the standard recovery time for a hamstring injury, and crucially the end of the transfer window.
A move to either would be off the cards in the short term as a result of the injury, although the Telegraph has reported both remain keen on him despite the lay-off.
The bigger issue is for Everton, who now face a serious risk of losing Barkley on a free next summer when his current contract comes to an end.