Everton have been dealt a blow just a week before the start of the new Premier League season after Muhamed Besic was ruled out for six months with a knee injury.
The Bosnia midfielder was forced off just 12 minutes after coming on in Wednesday’s testimonial for Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford.
“6 months out! #devastated,” the 23-year-old wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.
Besic, who joined the Toffees from Ferencvaros for £4million in the summer of 2014, has been blighted by injuries during his two years at Goodison Park.
Last season a hamstring injury sustained against Chelsea in September sidelined him for four months .
He made his comeback on Boxing Day but a recurrence of the problem within a month then put him out again until March.
Speaking to Sportske in Bosnia Besic’s father Meho said: “I spoke with Muhamed. He was disappointed and just crushed because of injury.”
Besic’s injury boosts the chances of new £7.1million arrival from Aston Villa Idrissa Gueye – manager Ronald Koeman’s only outfield signing since taking over in June – playing a major part in the first half of the season.
Gueye will make his debut in the home friendly against Espanyol on Saturday but in light of Besic’s injury Koeman may have to dip into the transfer market for reinforcements.