Son Heung-Min’s solid start to life at Tottenham has been halted by a foot injury that not only rules him out of the trip to Monaco but the next few weeks.
He has shown no signs of his lofty £22 million (Dh122m) price tag weighing him down, seamlessly making the transition from Bayer Leverkusen to Spurs.
Son has netted three goals in five appearances to date and would have had another was it not for the offside flag in the 4-1 Premier League win against Manchester City on Saturday.
The South Korean international was replaced by Clinton N’jie with 13 minutes remaining of a match in which Tottenham confirmed the forward picked up an unspecified foot injury.
Mauricio Pochettino was pressed on Son’s injury ahead of tonight’s Europa League tie in Monaco – a match the Spurs head coach confirmed the 23-year-old would miss, as well as his country’s upcoming matches against Kuwait and Jamaica.
“Son got an injury during the game against Man City, a foot injury, and he is not here for this reason,” the Argentinian said. “He is injured and I think he will need to stay in England for recovery.
“I don’t know what happened now but I think he will stay with us because it is impossible to travel with his national team.
“I think that it will be a few weeks, but it is an injury that we need to assess every day. We are lucky that we have the international break now for two weeks and we hope it is a quick recovery.
“We believe that it is not a big, big issue, but it is a different recovery with different players.”
Son is joined on the sidelines by Ryan Mason, Mousa Dembele, Alex Pritchard and Nabil Bentaleb, while Kyle Walker has been rested for the Group J tie at new-look Monaco.
A number of key players departed the principality in the wake of last season’s run to the Champions League quarter-finals – including their shock last-16 win against Arsenal – but Pochettino is not taking them lightly.
“It is true that in the summer they lost some players like Anthony Martial, Aymen Abdennour and Layvin Kurzawa,” the Spurs boss added.
“Still, they are a very good team, with young players. We will expect a very tough game.”
Leonardo Jardim’s side have scored eight times in three games but have only managed one victory in that time and were held to a 3-3 draw by Guingamp at the weekend.
Jardim has called on his side to sharpen up their defensive record, saying: “Right now, my team scores more but concedes more, too. Collectively, we haven’t been able to keep the lead on three occasions.”
Diego Costa is optimistic of a swift about-turn in fortunes for Chelsea. The Blues lost 2-1 at Jose Mourinho’s former club Porto to slip to third place in Champions League Group G.
Costa played two games into a three-match domestic suspension, but even his return could not boost Chelsea enough to claim victory.
The Spain striker, who was banned for violent conduct for grappling with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, said on espnfc.co.uk: “To come out of this we need to be all together, and for everyone to give a little more.
“We are not playing well, this is not a good moment, but we have players to get out of this easily.”
Costa completes his ban in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Southampton, but it is difficult to know who will replace him as fellow strikers Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao were not selected to travel to Portugal.
Oscar also did not fly, while Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic joined captain John Terry on the substitutes’ bench. Nevertheless, Costa felt Chelsea did enough to win at Porto, only to concede a “ridiculous” winner from a corner.
“We had the game under control,” Costa added. “We knew it was going to be a physical game. We began well.
“Things changed when they scored, but we quickly equalised. In the second half the same thing happened – we were lacking concentration at key moments of the game.”
Chelsea will be seeking just a third Premier League win from eight games this season when Saints visit this weekend. Mourinho maintains his side can progress in the Champions League as Group G winners, despite the Porto loss.
Chelsea, Amelia will take medical & sign contract tomorrow http://t.co/UU6A57VrY7
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) September 30, 2015
Mourinho said: “We finish the group with Porto at Stamford Bridge. We have now a double match against Dynamo (Kiev).
“The next match is in Dynamo and in this moment they have four points and we have only three. Hard, hard group, but obviously I think we can qualify and more than qualify – I think we still can finish first.”
The Blues are understood to be keen to sign former AC Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia as experienced cover for Asmir Begovic.
Begovic is deputising for Thibaut Courtois, who is out until December with a knee injury, while youngster Jamal Blackman is providing back-up. The Italian spent a few days training with Chelsea last week.
“We need a goalkeeper now, not in January,” Mourinho said on Monday.
Defender Per Mertesacker warned Arsenal must quickly learn how to regain their dynamic style at the Emirates Stadium to salvage any hope of staying in the Champions League.
The Gunners slumped to a 3-2 home defeat against Olympiakos on Tuesday night, when stand-in goalkeeper David Ospina dropped a corner over the line as the Greeks went on to record a first win in England at the 13th attempt.
Arsene Wenger’s side are now bottom of Group F, having lost their opening two Champions League games for the first time, and are in real danger of failing to sustain their record of making it to the knock-out stages for the past 15 seasons.
Arsenal next face a daunting double header against pool leaders Bayern Munich.
German World Cup winner Mertesacker believes the players can regroup to produce the required response, provided they take on board the harsh lesson of Tuesday night, when Arsenal allowed Olympiakos to move 3-2 ahead less than a minute after they had drawn level.
“At home we should be much more aggressive from the start and be more dynamic. That is what our game is all about, possession, but also dynamic-wise we should do much better, with the tempo and the speed,” said Mertesacker, who turned 31 on Tuesday.
“We need to come back to that if we want to be more successful in the Champions League and qualify, we need to do much better.
Roy Keane brutal assessment of Arsenal on @itvfootball: ‘If you were playing now you’d fancy yourself most weeks against that group.’
— Neil Ashton (@neilashton_) September 30, 2015
“When we play like we did (on Tuesday), with that lack of concentration and discipline, then we have got no chance.
“Everyone is disappointed, but we will get up and fight for a minimal chance (of qualification). We play Bayern Munich twice in a row and that is a big chance for us to show what a great team we are.
“We have to prove that we can show up with another performance, to play more aggressive, be more direct and be more convincing.”
Arsenal host Premier League leaders Manchester United on Sunday. Petr Cech is expected to be back in goal, with Wenger indicating the summer signing from Chelsea was carrying a minor injury concern following last weekend’s win at Leicester.
Laurent Koscielny was forced off in the second half against Olympiakos after looking to have picked up a hamstring injury while making a slide tackle, so will be assessed.