Bissouma, Lo Celso & Solomon: Spurs injury list and expected returns dates ahead of Brighton clash
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Tottenham Hotspur have been plagued by injury problems all season – but at long last, they seem to be easing up, with key players such as James Maddison and Micky van de Ven back to full fitness. Meanwhile, Son Heung-Min’s South Korea were beaten in the Asian Cup semi-finals by Jordan, so their star forward could be back for the weekend. Things are looking up for Ange Postecoglou.
But that doesn’t mean that their long run of bad luck has ended, as some extraordinary news emerges of a player returning from the Africa Cup of Nations having played through illness and Spurs are left wondering when a couple of long-term absentees will be ready to return.
The defensive midfielder’s time at AFCON 2023 has come to a close after his Mali side were defeated in extra time by hosts Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals – but while Bissouma will have been back in the country for several days by the time Brighton arrive at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, he may not be available to play.
That’s because Mali coach Éric Chelle has admitted that Bissouma played through the quarter-final despite being diagnosed with malaria, a disease he was suffering with through much of the tournament. Chelle did state that his condition was “not serious”, which makes sense given the fact that he was playing elite football during his infection, but Spurs will no doubt want to carry out their own medical examination when he returns, which is expected to be on Wednesday or Thursday. His prognosis remains unclear, but he may well be rested against Brighton as he recovers.
Giovani Lo Celso
Claims that the Argentina midfielder would return from a hamstring injury in time for the 3-2 win over Brentford proved to be overly optimistic, and the attacking midfielder has now missed four games after sustaining the injury against Burnley. Reports now suggest that the extent of his injury and prospective return date are unclear, although it is still not believed to be an especially serious problem. He is no longer expected to be ready to face Brighton, however.
Spurs have also kept quiet about the progress of Israeli winger Solomon, who had been slated for a late January return following surgery on a meniscus injury but has yet to make the squad as February rolls around. In the absence of meaningful updates on his recovery we must assume that Solomon, who has not featured since the end of September, will not be available against the Seagulls.
The third and final long-term injury case about whom we know all too little thanks to Spurs’ tight-lipped policy on injury updates. Sessesgnon recovered from hamstring surgery in the summer sufficiently well to feature in the FA Cup third round match against Burnley, but picked up a fresh hamstring problem as a result of those exertions and has not been seen since. No updates about his return date have been provided, and nor has there been any evidence that he has returned to training. It seems unlikely that Sessegnon will make his first Premier League appearance of the season on Saturday.
The 31-year-old forward will be free to return to Spurs ahead of the game against Brighton as the Asian Cup, unlike many international tournaments, does not include a third-place play-off game. He is likely to be back in London by Friday but whether he will be involved having played six matches in 22 days is not clear.