Everton have been dealt a huge injury blow with star left-back Lucas Digne set to be out of action for two months with an ankle problem.
The Frenchman has established himself as one of the finest in his position in the Premier League following his 2018 arrival from Barcelona, and the 27-year-old has been named the Toffees' vice-captain under Carlo Ancelotti.
However, reports suggest the Italian boss could be without Digne for the rest of 2020 after sources close to the player confirmed to France Football that the full-back had suffered an ankle injury in Everton training this week.
The initial exams were thought to have not been very reassuring and Digne may be forced to undergo surgery.
The Times' Paul Joyce has since reported that Digne could miss up to two months of action if that is the case.
It's a huge blow for Everton, who, despite their struggles before the international break, have aspirations to secure European football for next season after their impressive summer transfer window saw their squad bolstered significantly.
Digne, meanwhile, has continued to impress this term, starting eight of the Toffees nine Premier League games thus far all while notching four assists. In the one game the Frenchman was absent due to suspension, Ancelotti's side fell to a dismal 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.
The dynamic he's established with Richarlison down Everton's left is a staple of Ancelotti's Everton.
Thus, with Digne set for a spell out, 20-year-old Niels Nkounkou is poised to have a run in the side. The young Frenchman joined from Marseille in the summer and has shown off his exciting talent in his three EFL Cup appearances so far.
Nkounkou's a dynamic left-back capable at both ends of the pitch, although his Premier League debut against Newcastle was a difficult one.