Thomas Vermaelen could be sidelined for the remainder of the season as Barcelona reveals he will undergo thigh surgery.
The former Arsenal centre-back, 29, has yet to feature in a competitive match for the Catalans since joining for £15m in the summer.
He will have his operation on Tuesday in an attempt to cure the problem sustained while playing for Belgium during a 2014 World Cup group stage clash with Russia.
“First team footballer Thomas Vermaelen will undergo surgery on his right semitendinosus muscle by doctor Sakari Orava next Tuesday in Finland,” read a statement on Barcelona’s official website. “The estimated recovery time is 4 to 6 months.”