Wigan Athletic loan star Reece James looks set to miss the first few weeks of next season after suffering ankle ligament damage on international duty with England Under-20s.
The 19-year-old was expected to challenge for a first-team squad berth at Chelsea next term, after enjoying a fabulous campaign – his first in senior football – with Latics.
But he now looks set for several weeks of recovery and recuperation after being stretchered off – while being administered oxygen – during the Young Lions’ defeat to Chile that rounded off a thoroughly miserable Toulon Tournament.
The player is still waiting for the swelling to go down before he can be properly assessed.
But the initial prognosis is that he faces a three-month lay-off after suffering a sprain and ligament damage.
The major positive is that he has not badly broken the ankle, which would have ruled him out for much longer.
With the current uncertainty surrounding the managerial situation at Chelsea, James had also been linked with a possible loan move to another Premier League club to further his development.
But any chance of that appears to have been ruled out, with the deadline for loan signing coming at the beginning of August – around a month before his pencilled-in return date.
Meanwhile, Latics legend Antonio Valencia has been linked with a move to the MLS to join David Beckham’s new franchise Inter Miami.
Valencia, 33, has left Manchester United after a 10-year stint, following his £16million transfer from Latics in 2009.
And he is believed to have been lined up to join the MLS new-boys in 2020.
Valencia would join fellow Latics old-boys Chris McCann, Maynor Figueroa and Roger Espinoza in the American competition.