Highly-rated defender Kostas Manolas has been effectively ruled out of AS Roma's Champions League Group C clash with Chelsea on Wednesday night (18 October) after sustaining an injury on domestic duty over the weekend.
Manolas, previously said to be a transfer target for both the defending English champions and Premier League rivals Arsenal, was replaced by ex-Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Federico Fazio after 59 minutes of the Giallorossi's meeting with undefeated Serie A pace-setters Napoli on Saturday evening due to a thigh complaint.
Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco stated after that disappointing 1-0 home defeat that it was "practically impossible" to envisage the Greek international having recovered from such a blow in time for a midweek trip to Stamford Bridge.
"(Manolas) hurt himself and I think it is practically impossible to see him on the pitch on Wednesday," he was quoted as saying by the Mail.
In a medical update posted following examinations undertaken on Monday morning, Roma confirmed that Manolas had suffered a "grade I strain of his left adductor longus (thigh) muscle". Reports from Italy suggest that he could be set for a three to four week layoff.
Roma have a number of injury concerns persisting at present, with key duo Kevin Strootman and Stephan El Shaarawy - who could both be fit to face Chelsea - currently sidelined along with French forward Gregoire Defrel, left-back Emerson Palmieri and Sampdoria loanee Patrik Schick.
"There are various reasons behind the injuries, some are knocks, some are past issues," Di Francesco explained. "If I had been able to train with them from the start, it'd be different. I don't like to look towards these things. I would prefer to have more choices to make, but I don't at this moment."
Three-time Italian champions Roma head to London this week having won five of their first nine matches across all competitions under former midfielder Di Francesco, who returned to the Stadio Olimpico as manager in June after Luciano Spalletti's departure.
They had racked up five successive victories before coming unstuck against in-form Napoli and currently sit second behind Chelsea in their Champions League group following a goalless draw against Atletico Madrid with a somewhat nervy 2-1 win over tournament debutants FK Qarabag in Baku last month.
Antonio Conte's side will also enter the match in downbeat mood after being bested by a crisis-stricken Crystal Palace team that had failed to pick up a single win or even score a solitary goal during a historic run of seven consecutive opening losses.
The Blues, already nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City, were missing midfielders N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater and could be without Victor Moses for up to a month after the converted wing-back limped off with a hamstring problem.
However, Conte hopes that prolific striker Alvaro Morata, who has scored eight goals in nine appearances since joining from Real Madrid in July, will be available to return against Roma after suffering a grade two myofascial injury in his hamstring during the narrow defeat by City on 30 September.