Manchester City have confirmed right-back Bacary Sagna will be sidelined for around three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty. The news is a massive blow for manager Pep Guardiola ahead of a busy end to October, including a Champions League group stage game with Barcelona and a decisive duel with Manchester United in the EFL Cup fourth round.
Sagna has alternated with Pablo Zabaleta in the right-back role since the summer arrival of Guardiola to the Etihad Stadium. He has started four of the seven Premier League games so far this campaign.
However, it looks as though the Argentine will see more gametime in the coming weeks after the former Arsenal defender was forced off in the 27th minute of France's 4-1 victory over Bulgaria last week. Sagna was consequently ruled out of the following World Cup qualifier between his national team and the Netherlands.
City have now confirmed fans' worst fears, ruling the player out for the rest of the month.
"Sagna was injured while on international duty with France and has suffered a hamstring pull – he is likely to return in early November," the club said.
The defender will miss at least five games, starting with the Premier League encounter against Everton on Saturday (15 October), followed by the Champions League trip to Barcelona four days later. City's EFL Cup derby with United at Old Trafford on 26 October is then sandwiched between league matches with Southampton (23 October) and West Brom (29 October).
It is unknown at the current time if Sagna will be ready for the return encounter with Barcelona on 1 November.
There is better news for City regarding the conditions of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne. The former downplayed fears over a training ground calf injury in an interview with Ole.
"I'm quite well now, you get physical fitness playing, not training. [Manager Edgardo] Bauza has the decision – I'll be available for Tuesday. I'm much better. After the Peru game I had two days to make the recovery and I did a little bit of football today. I'm quite well."
Meanwhile, City revealed "Kevin De Bruyne is reportedly progressing well" amid suggestions the Belgium international could be available to face Barcelona next week.
However, there is still uncertainty over three other players in the treatment room.
"Fabian Delph, Raheem Sterlingand Vincent Kompany all are likely to be assessed by the medical team throughout the week," City added via their official website.