Ben Chilwell has revealed that he has undergone successful surgery on his knee and is braced for the long road back to full fitness.
Chilwell suffered a partial ACL tear against Juventus in late November and initially stayed away from the operating table, with club doctors keen to give him time to recover naturally before making a final decision.
The left-back has made some progress over the past month but it was eventually decided that he did require surgery, meaning Chilwell's season is almost certainly over and he is now facing a race against time to get back for the start of the 2022/23 campaign.
"Just wanted to let everyone know that the operation yesterday was successful," he wrote on Twitter. "I feel very positive & motivated to work like a beast to get back on the pitch with my boys soon and help this great club win more trophies.
"Thank you all for the support and nice messages."
With Chilwell set for an extended spell on the sidelines, Chelsea are looking at ways to replace him. Currently, Marcos Alonso is the only senior left-back on the books.
Lyon have blocked Chelsea's attempt to recall Emerson Palmieri, with the French side refusing to give up their option to buy him at the end of the season.
As a result, the Blues are expected to dip into the transfer market and 90min understands that Everton's Lucas Digne is their top target.
While Chelsea are prepared to sign Digne on a permanent basis, they are reluctant to commit too much money to the deal and would prefer to sign him on loan if an agreement with Everton can be reached.