Tottenham Hotspur have revealed the concerning extent of the injury suffered by Jan Vertonghen during a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace on 23 January. The Belgian defender lasted 75 minutes of the Premier League clash at Selhurst Park before being replaced by Kevin Wimmer shortly after landing awkwardly following an altercation with Connor Wickham at a corner.
Mauricio Pochettino confirmed after the match that Vertonghen, who has been an ever-present for the club so far this season with 32 appearances in all competitions, would undergo tests this week to determine the severity of the problem after being left with pain in both his knee and ankle. The results of those scans have now been relayed, although it is certainly not the news that supporters were hoping for as the 28-year-old has suffered ligament damage.
"Further assessment & scans have confirmed that Jan Vertonghen sustained damage to his medial collateral ligament in his knee at Palace," Tottenham confirmed in a statement released via their official website. "Our medical staff will continue to monitor his progress during his rehabilitation to determine when he will be ready to return to training."
Tottenham are yet to speculate on how long Vertonghen might be out for, although The Telegraph report that they fear he could miss two months. Wickham, meanwhile, was on Monday (25 January) charged with violent conduct over his alleged elbow that was not seen by referee Martin Atkinson.
"Connor Wickham has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video," the FA confirmed. "The Crystal Palace forward was involved in an incident with Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen in the 69th minute of the game on Saturday [23 January 2016].
"The matter was referred to a panel of three former elite referees who each reviewed the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they considered it a sending-off offence. For an FA charge to follow the decision by the panel must be unanimous. The player has until 6pm on Tuesday 26 January 2016 to reply to the charge."
Wimmer is the obvious candidate to partner Toby Alderweireld in Vertonghen's absence. However, the Austria international has featured just six times since joining Tottenham from Cologne in May 2015 and a return to Germany looked likely earlier this week when Schalke chairman Clemens Toennies confirmed that the Bundesliga outfit were in "advanced talks" over the player.
Federico Fazio is another option for Pochettino if he does not delve into the transfer market before the 1 February deadline, although, like Wimmer, he has also struggled to settle at White Hart Lane amid frequent speculation over a possible return to Sevilla. The versatile Eric Dier previously played at centre-back before being successfully converted into a defensive midfielder this season.