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The new 2023/24 Premier League campaign is just weeks away from kicking off, though several of the division’s biggest names are already set to miss the season’s early exchanges.
Most of the league’s 20 combatants started their pre-season training programmes this week, while plans to strengthen squads and to implement fresh tactical ideas are also being worked on in the background.
Having a full complement of players available can really help a team to kickstart their campaign in a positive fashion, though a number of outfits must plan for their opening fixtures without key players.
Below, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the megastars likely to miss the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
The unfortunate Belgian midfield maestro famously limped out of Man City’s Champions League triumph over Inter Milan last month with a hamstring tear and the 32-year-old could miss the Cityzens’ Community Shield date with Arsenal and the club’s Premier League opener at Burnley five days later.
After the UCL Final, De Bruyne revealed: “I’ve been struggling for two months but it was all small ruptures. Today the hamstring just snapped.”
If De Bruyne does end up missing the showpiece curtain-raiser at Wembley Stadium on August 6th, the Gunners will be thrilled. De Bruyne scored three times in two appearances against the Londoners last term.
Ivan Toney – Brentford
Brentford centre-forward Ivan Toney is serving a lengthy suspension for breaching the Premier League’s gambling rules and the prolific frontman will be forced to watch from the sidelines until January 16 next year.
Toney scored a fantastic 20 Premier League goals for the Bees in 2022/23, a haul bettered only by Man City goal machine Erling Haaland and Tottenham talisman, Harry Kane.
Several of the league’s bigger clubs were thought to be weighing up a move for Toney with a view to making a concrete move for the ex-Northampton star this summer, though the striker’s ban has scuppered his chances of a money-spinning switch for the time being.
Stefan Bajcetic – Liverpool
Talented Spanish technician Stefan Bajcetic was enjoying an impressive breakout season for Liverpool in 202/23 before an injury curtailed his progress in March.
The 18-year-old made 11 appearances in the Premier League including six starts for the Reds and the teenager was beginning to establish himself as a first-choice pick in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield.
Bajcetic is inching his way back to fitness, though the start of the new campaign might come too quickly for him.
“Around the start of the pre-season, there will be parts of reintegration, but it will take time,” said Klopp back in May. “He’s not in full training [by then], that’s the prediction at the moment.”
Andreas Pereira – Fulham
Andreas Pereira enjoyed a fine maiden campaign with Fulham last season, though the former Man Utd starlet picked up a nasty ankle injury near the close of play in the Premier League and he will miss the first few months of the 2023/24 season as a result.
The creative midfielder, who lodged ten goal contributions last term, came off on a stretcher in Fulham’s 2-1 reverse at home to Man City in late April and it was later revealed that the Brazilian had fractured his ankle.
In the aftermath, Fulham boss Marco Silva said: “Andreas fractured his ankle and will undergo surgery today. Following his surgery and during his rehab, we will be able to provide a further update on when he is likely to return to action, anticipated later this year.”
Michael Olise – Crystal Palace
Attacking midfield dynamo Michael Olise was one of Crystal Palace’s most-effective performers in the Premier League last season, though the Eagles could be without his services when competitive action resumes in August.
Olise picked up a serious-looking hamstring injury while playing for French at the U21 European Championship this summer and the ailment should keep him in the treatment room until late August.
Speaking about the issue, the French U21 manager Sylvain Ripoll said: “It’s an injury to the hamstring in his left thigh. It’s a tough blow. It’s a problem for the rest of the competition because we can’t replace him. We’ll find out in the coming hours how long he will be out.”
Rodrigo Bentancur – Tottenham Hotspur
Uruguayan international Rodrigo Bentancur is a key component of Tottenham’s machine in midfield, though the 26-year-old won’t be able to feature again for the club until November late September at the earliest.
When Bentancur tor his crucial ligament in February, Tottenham were just two points shy of fourth spot, though their campaign seemed to collapse in his absence.
Bentancur has undergone surgery and is following his rehabilitation program, though new Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou won’t be able to deploy the slick playmaker until the new season is well under way.
Benoit Badiashile – Chelsea
Promising French defender Benoit Badiashile was forced to endure a frustrating first year in the Premier League with Chelsea following last summer’s move from Monaco.
Alongside playing in an underperforming side, a string of injuries restricted the centre-half to just ten starts for his new employers and fitness issues are threatening to derail the start of the 22-year-old’s second season in London.
Badiashile was struck down by a groin injury in late May that had a four-month recovery period. If that initial timeframe is correct, the Frenchman will miss the opening weeks of the 2023/24 season.
Alex Moreno – Aston Villa
January acquisition Alex Moreno caught the eye for Aston Villa in the second half of last season with some rampaging displays down the left flank, though the defender isn’t expected to be involved when the 2023/23 campaign gets under way in August.
The 30-year-old fullback sustained a hamstring injury in Villa’s second-last match of the campaign against Liverpool and the Spaniard is now in a race to be fit for the Villains’ first couple of fixtures next term.
Moreno had surgery to repair his issue earlier in the summer and there is a slim chance that he could make Villa’s first Premier League fixture at Newcastle on August 12.
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