Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been forced to withdraw from international duty with Croatia after picking up an Achilles injury.
The Blues have been without both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi this season after the two players suffered serious Achilles injuries towards the end of the previous campaign, whilst the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Willian and Reece James have all been injured as well.
The Croatian national team confirmed on Twitter that Kovacic had withdrawn from the squad to be replaced by Hajduk Split’s Mijo Caktas, but they did not give any indication as to the reason why.
Fortunately, the Daily Mail did explore the issue, revealing that Kovacic had picked up an Achilles injury. However, it is not believed to be nearly as serious as either Loftus-Cheek’s or Hudson-Odoi’s injury.
Instead, they state Kovacic has suffered an inflamed Achilles tendon in his right leg, which will not require a lengthy lay-off.
The Blues have been dealing with injury problems all year, and Kovacic now appears set to add his name to that list. He has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season under Frank Lampard, impressing fans with his dribbling and passing which was not always on show under former boss Maurizio Sarri.
N’Golo Kante has also been nursing an injury, but it is hoped that he will be fully fit when the international break comes to a close, meaning he could fill in for Kovacic with ease.
The Frenchman may not be the only imminent return for Chelsea, with Hudson-Odoi recently revealing he is targeting a comeback after the break.
Chelsea could certainly do with having all their stars back, after enduring what can only be described as a tumultuous start to the campaign. Generally, the team has performed well, but some glaring concerns have seen the Blues pick up just five points from their opening four games.