Barcelona have confirmed that Philippe Coutinho faces three months on the sidelines after undergoing successful knee surgery.
The Brazilian has been through a scorching spell since moving from Liverpool to Camp Nou in January 2018 and has struggled to maintain a regular place in the starting XI.
Last season he was loaned out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich where he again struggled to consolidate his place in the first team before injury caused him to miss eight of the last nine league games in the club.
Returning to Barcelona this summer, the 28-year-old had started to settle under Ronald Koeman, scoring two goals and two assists in his 14 La Liga appearances.
However, Coutinho suffered a tear in his meniscus after coming off the bench in Barca’s 1-1 draw with Eibar on Tuesday, and the club confirmed via their official website that they were forced to undergo left knee surgery and that he could now miss as much as three months of the season.
While the news will undoubtedly be a blow to Koeman, Pedri’s emergence in the first-team setup means Barca are well equipped to deal with the Brazilian’s absence.
Since arriving from Las Palmas in July in a deal valued at 5million euros (£ 4.4million), the Spain Under-21 international has settled down perfectly in Catalonia, appearing in each of Barcelona’s La Liga games this season.
The Blaugrana have struggled to keep pace with leaders Atletico Madrid this season and are already ten points behind Diego Simeone’s men.
The midweek draw with Eibar was just the latest in a series of disappointing results for Barcelona, who currently sit sixth in the table. Koeman’s side travel to SD Huesca on Sunday as they look to close the gap on those ahead.