Barcelona striker Luis Suarez could miss the rest of the 2019-20 season through injury after the Catalan club announced he has received surgery that will require a four-month recovery period.
The Uruguayan picked up a knock during the Blaugrana's 3-2 Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid in Jeddah on Thursday, with it then reported the following day that he had aggravated an old injury.
And while Antoine Griezmann joined the ranks at Camp Nou over the summer, the Frenchman hasn't fully convinced in a centre-forward role, leaving Ernesto Valverde short on options following Suarez's injury.
A statement on Barcelona's official site says of the striker's time out: "The first team player, Luis Suarez, has been operated on this Sunday by Dr. Ramon Cugat, who used keyhole surgery to resolve an injury to the external meniscus of the right knee by performing a suture. The Uruguayan striker will be out for approximately four months.
"Suarez has participated in a total of 23 games this season, in which he has scored 14 goals: 11 in the league and three in the Champions League. In addition, he has the most assists in the Spanish league in 2019-20 with a total of seven."
With Suarez now 32 years old, the Spanish champions are well aware of the need to bring in a long-term replacement for the ageing frontman, with Inter striker Lautaro Martinez on their wishlist alongside Erling Haaland before the latter's move to Borussia Dortmund.
Barca's may well seek a more short-term option while the January transfer window is open, however, as the club are unlikely to feel confident in navigating the second half of their season – which includes an upcoming Champions League knock-out clash with Napoli on February 25 – without a senior striking deputy.
The Catalans sit at the summit of La Liga as things stand, although are merely ahead of second-placed Real Madrid on goal difference, with a home date against mid-table Granada set for Sunday, January 19.