Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic is set to miss the start of the season with an ankle injury.
The 20-year-old Serbia international, who impressed during his first season in England, was carried off on a stretcher in the win over Sunderland in a pre-season Barclays Asia Cup tournament in Hong Kong last month.
He is expected to be sidelined for another four to six weeks with the 2013/14 Premier League games against Newcastle (H), Cardiff (A) and Hull City (H) on August 19, 25 and 31 respectively among the game he could potentially miss.
He is also not expected to feature in City’s trip to Stokes on September 14 but could return later in that month.
Nastasic signed a five-year deal with City from Fiorentina in 2012, in a €15m player plus cash exchange that saw Stefan Savic move the other way.
He cemented his place in City’s starting XI, pushing 30-year-old Joleon Lescott out and becoming a fan favourite. There are now consigns over his injury, with the club’s fans already considering the prospect of another summer signing as a precautionary measure.