Erling Haaland is expected to be sidelined until the end of January, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said.
The prolific Norwegian striker has missed City’s last eight games, including their Club World Cup triumph in Saudi Arabia, with a foot injury.
City had hoped to welcome the 23-year-old back early in the new year but the problem is proving more troublesome than expected and the player is not yet back in full training.
The expectation now is that he will be able to resume work as the club, without a game next weekend, travel to Abu Dhabi for a warm-weather training camp after Saturday’s game at Newcastle.
Guardiola said: “Yes, (he’s had) a little bit of disturbing problems in his feet. It’s fine but the doctors decided to stop for one week and maybe restart in Abu Dhabi.
“Hopefully at the end of this month he’ll be ready. It was a little bit more than we expected in the beginning.
“It’s the bone. It needs time. With every injury you can do whatever you want but it’s a question of time.”
Haaland scored 52 goals last season during an outstanding first campaign with City and had already netted 19 this term.
Guardiola feels his firepower has been sorely missed.
“We miss Erling a lot,” the Spaniard said. “We need him. Hopefully he can come back and play the last four or five months without a problem.
“When you are injured at end of November, you miss a lot of games. It’s the toughest period.”
In a further blow for City, defender Manuel Akanji is facing a spell on the sidelines.
The Switzerland international was forced off early in last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Huddersfield following a heavy challenge.
He joins centre-back John Stones on the casualty list.
Guardiola said: “He will be some weeks out. It’s not a big problem but until the end of the month.
“Now we’re lucky that we don’t have games in the next 10 days after Newcastle. We’ll see how they feel in the good weather in Abu Dhabi.”