Newcastle United's new signing Davide Santon will have to wait another month to make his debut for the club after a scan revealed he will need surgery on his troublesome right knee.
The former Inter Milan defender, who moved to Newcastle on the penultimate day of the summer transfer window, played 70 minutes in Tuesday's reserves win over Norwich City, and was expected to be in contention to play against Aston Villa.
However, after picking up the injury during training on Thursday, a scan has forced him out for the next month, to the disappointment of manager Alan Pardew.
"It’s a worry because it looks like it could be a cartilage, not the most serious type of injury but not something you want when he has just come into the building,” Pardew said.
"Maybe we are looking at a month out. He is going to have to get it cleaned out and then it is keyhole surgery nowadays which is a quicker operation, but it will certainly mean at least four weeks out.
"I'm not actually sure of the mechanics of how it occurred. He trained on Thursday and trained very, very well. But it's very important he has a good start at this football club, so we want to make sure he's 100%."
The injury originates from an problem picked up in 2009 and while immediate surgery appeared to solve the problem it looks like keyhole surgery will be required to fix this latest issue.
“David has had a few injuries in the last couple of years and that is not ideal especially as he has been through a really thorough medical,” Pardew added. “He is a little bit unlucky if I am honest as we are only a week or so down from the medical.
“At Premier League level, with most clubs the medicals are very thorough irrespective of a player’s past history. He has had MRIs and his medical would have been no different from anyone else’s just as it was the same for Demba Ba, who has a history of knee problems.
“We did not have any plans to go beyond that for Santon because it did not flag up. We did not try to protect him in the medical. I just think he has been unlucky because there were no problems after reserve game.”