The fixtures for the domestic leagues have been set and clubs across Europe are getting ready for the new campaign. Pre-season preparations are already underway as clubs lay emphasis on regaining fitness. The exciting new campaign will feature shuffled squads and new managerial takeovers and is sure to pack drama. But in the midst of this, certain players are struggling with injury. FootTheBall takes a look at ten such stars that are set to miss out on the start of the 2021/22 season.
1. MARCUS RASHFORD
Marcus Rashford wasn’t afforded much rest the past season as he was an instrumental part of Manchester United’s line-up. United’s lack of depth was the underlying cause of this worked-up schedule. United’s star man did not enjoy a good European Championship either, as the Three Lions lost out in a heartbreaking penalty shootout.
Now Rashford has been dealt yet another blow as he prepares to undergo surgery for a problematic shoulder injury. The surgery will likely cost him the first two months of the campaign. Even though Jadon Sancho’s arrival is a relief. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have a huge task on his hand without his star man.
2. MARTIN DUBRAVKA
Newcastle’s No.1 is once again set to miss out on the start of the season after picking up a foot injury. The Slovakian international played in the Euro 2020 and is one of the vital players in Steve Bruce’s side.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 28, 2021
The extent and severity of Dubravka’s injury are still not clear but reports suggest that he is unlikely to feature in the opening month of the campaign. Freddie Woodman’s loan move to Bournemouth might therefore be put on hold if the situation is unclear.
Leonardo Spinazzola was on the run of his life in the European Championship as he helped Italy throughout the campaign. He was Italy’s top performer in the tournament but picked up an unfortunate injury in the quarter-final leg against Belgium. He injured his Achilles tendon and underwent surgery in Finland.
Euro 2020’s best left-back will have to wait for six to seven months before he returns to the first-team action. New Roma Manager Jose Mourinho will hope that the Italian would return to full fitness as soon as possible.
“It was a pleasure to meet him. He was very kind and told me that both he and the team will wait for me on the pitch. I just told him that he’ll have to be like me and be patient. If I am not back playing again in six months, I will go out there myself and see who tries to stop me.” (Source: La República)
4. MATS HUMMELS
Germany’s defensive tower Mats Hummels is doubtful to start the season as concerns over his fitness have been raised. The Borussia Dortmund defender is suffering from an inflammation in the patellar tendon in his knee. Reports suggest that Hummels might not return to full fitness in time for the opening weeks of the campaign.
In Germany we call him 𝗔𝗨𝗦𝗦𝗘𝗡𝗥𝗜𝗦𝗧. 👀 pic.twitter.com/g84s1Y2rVW
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) June 8, 2021
Borussia Dortmund will have a huge problem on their hands if Hummels does not recover on time. The 32-year-old will not be rushed back into the team but they will have a hole in defence to fill. Dan-Axel Zagadou is also not available and this will leave Manuel Akanji as the sole senior centre-half in the team.
5. PEDRO NETO
Pedro Neto was the sensation of last season, scoring goals left, right and centre for Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Portuguese star forward suffered a shock injury in April in the 1-0 win over Fulham. He had to undergo surgery after injuring his knee cap and is recovering from the incident.
The player was spotted in crutches and it is expected that he would mark his return only by the start of next year. Wolves were dealt a huge blow when Neto was carried off in a stretcher and they hope their star man will return with the same poise.
6. BREEL EMBOLO
Embolo was having a potential career breakthrough campaign with Switzerland. His performances were immense and Embolo was grabbing headlines until he picked up an injury in the quarter-final defeat to Spain. The forward injured his left hamstring and it is unclear as to when he will return to first-team training.
⚽️ Breel Embolo opens the scoring for Switzerland and it has been coming
🇨🇭 It's just his sixth goal in 43 international caps
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 12, 2021
Reports hint that the player would rest during the month and will return to the camp before the start of the campaign. However, since his injury is not classified as a minor one, the player is likely exempted until he regains full fitness. Borussia Monchengladbach will be hopeful that their forward could return for at least one of the matches in the opening month.
7. LUCAS HERNANDEZ
Lucas Hernandez was yet another victim of a knee injury. The French international was subbed off in France’s group stage match against Portugal. He did not feature for the Les Bleus in the remainder of the campaign. Although the reason for his unavailability was unknown at the time, it was later revealed he suffered from a torn meniscus.
— Lucas Hernández (@LucasHernandez) June 29, 2021
Bayern Munich will be without his services at the start of the campaign. The player has undergone surgery and his return to training is not decided as of now. With Alphonso Davies also set to miss out on the start of the season due to injury, the German champions will be faced with a tough task during the opening weeks of the campaign.
8. ALPHONSO DAVIES
Bayern Munich’s star left-back Alphonso Davies picked up an injury in his left ankle. The Canadian international suffered a torn ligament when he was training with the Canadian national team. The pacey wing-back is one of Canada’s top players, scoring four goals and providing five assists in 2021. The national team’s chances in the Gold Cup have been hindered due to the injury.
— Alphonso Davies (@AlphonsoDavies) June 16, 2021
New coach Julian Nagelsmann will be without two of the team’s best defenders on the left when the campaign kicks off. Although Davies does not need surgery as of now, he will need a prolonged period of rest which may extend beyond the start of the season.
9. SAMUEL CHUKWUEZE
Samuel Chukwueze was never able to exert his dominant performances due to his repeated injury concerns. The pacey forward has been side-lined more often than not and has had a rocky career so far. But the talented player is clearly a nuisance for opposition defenders whenever he dawns the green.
Only God can do this 🙏❤️,champions baby 💛💛💛💛💛❤️😘😘✊🏿💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/H2B2o23Pvc
— Samuel chukwueze (@chukwueze_8) May 27, 2021
Chukwueze underwent surgery after he damaged his quadriceps in his left leg in the semi-final clash against Arsenal. The player was initially ruled out for three months but has now announced his return to training. Villareal hopes he can be fit before the Super League clash against Chelsea, but it is too soon to predict the possibility. The player will likely miss the start of the 2021/22 season.
10. DAN-AXEL ZAGADOU
The young French centre-back was brought in to Borussia Dortmund in hopes to give cover for Hummels or Akanji. Zagadou was expected to form a centre-back pairing with the veteran Hummels to add a new dimension to Dortmund’s line-up. However, the young centre back has not been able to impact his side’s fortunes as fans had hoped he would.
Unfortunately, Dan-Axel Zagadou will be sidelined for the remainder of the season as a result of a knee injury.
Wishing you a speedy recovery, Daxo! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/J3nTv82t8H
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) March 25, 2021
Dan-axel Zagadou is expected to miss the pre-season training and might not be rushed into action. The situation will depend on how quickly Mats Hummels will recover from his injury. With most of their senior centre-half pairings suffering from injury, Dortmund will have a huge task on their hands in dealing with the opening fixtures of the season.