Kevin De Bruyne suffered a knee injury in Manchester City training on Wednesday and they stand to lose an almost irreplaceable player if reports of a three-month absence prove accurate.
The Belgium international played an integral role for City last season, as Pep Guardiola’s men cruised to Premier League success.
City finished 19 points ahead of bitter rivals and neighbours Manchester United and De Bruyne was favourite to win the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Players’ Player of the Year award for much of the campaign.
In the end, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah claimed the individual gong, but that did little to detract from De Bruyne’s splendid season, both individually and as part of the record-breaking City side.
It remains to be seen just how serious the 27-year-old’s injury is, but Opta data shows he will be sorely missed if he ends up on the sidelines for a significant period of time.
43 – Since making his league debut for City in September 2015, De Bruyne has set up 43 goals, more than any other player.
291 – In the same period, only Christian Eriksen (321) and Mesut Ozil (320) have created more chances than the Belgian, who has crafted 291 opportunities.
93 – Of those chances, 93 came from set-pieces. Gylfi Sigurdsson (98) and Eriksen (95) are the only players to have been more effective than De Bruyne at dead balls since his City debut.
21 – De Bruyne has netted 21 times in his 91 Premier League games, making him the sixth highest-scoring midfielder in that period. Dele Alli leads the way with 37.
16 – Last season the former Chelsea player claimed 16 assists in the league, making him the top tier’s most effective creator of goals. His team-mate Leroy Sane was second with 15.
7.9 – On average, De Bruyne was involved in 7.9 open-play sequences per match which resulted in a shot last term. Only Philippe Coutinho (8.5), Eden Hazard (8.4) and Cesc Fabregas (8.2) had a better record.