Premier League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur will be without Mousa Dembele for their forthcoming friendly against Kitchee SC in Hong Kong as he prepares to undergo surgery on a persistent foot injury, although the Belgian international is expected to return in time for pre-season.
Dembele was plagued by foot issues on numerous occasions in 2016 and had to be substituted at half-time during a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace last month. The 29-year-old was then limited to second-half substitute cameos in three consecutive matches against Arsenal, West Ham United and Manchester United before manager Mauricio Pochettino revealed in advance of a 6-1 thrashing of Leicester City that he had been playing through the pain barrier and would need to visit a specialist at the end of the season.
Former Fulham midfielder Dembele played 86 minutes at the King Power Stadium and later reverted to a bit-part role in a final day drubbing of Hull City, replacing Dele Alli for the final 17 minutes of a 7-1 victory on Humberside.
However, he is not scheduled to travel with his teammates for a post-season friendly in the Far East and will instead go under the knife in what Tottenham describe as a "planned procedure".
"Mousa Dembele will this week undergo a planned procedure to resolve a persistent problem with his left foot," the club confirmed on Monday (22 May). "The Belgium international will be unable to travel to Hong Kong for our fixture against Kitchee SC as a result, and is expected to return for pre-season."
Tottenham's meeting with reigning eight-time Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee SC takes place on Friday (26 March) at Hong Kong Stadium.
Pochettino has named a strong 22-man squad for an international fixture that is taking place as part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's reunification with China, with long-term absentees Danny Rose, Harry Winks and Erik Lamela staying behind along with Dembele.
21-year-old Slovakian midfielder Filip Lesniak, who made his senior bow at Leicester as a late replacement for Dembele and retained his place on the bench against Hull, is joined on the trip by fellow youngsters Luke Amos, Will Miller and Kazaiah Sterling. The former pair recently completed respective loan spells with Southend and Burton Albion, while highly-rated academy striker Sterling is expected to train with the first team next term in order to learn from double Golden Boot winner Harry Kane.