Manchester United's hopes of arresting their recent slide have suffered a sizeable blow after it emerged that Robin van Persie could be unavailable for another six weeks due to injury.
Van Persie has not played for the champions since the Champions League defeat of Shakhtar Donetsk on December 10 and some reports claim the Netherlands international could make his return next week.
There has, however, been a counter claim by the Daily Mail with a report on Saturday suggesting Van Persie could be out for the long-term having suffered a similar injury to one that kept him out for three months at Arsenal.
Van Persie is currently nursing a thigh strain comparative to the one sustained with the Gunners during the 2007-08 campaign. This particular complaint saw the striker miss all of Arsenal's games between December 16 and March 9 that season.
David Moyes has sent Van Persie to the Netherlands to work with a fitness coach from PSV Eindhoven in a bid to overcome his thigh issue and, although the Manchester United manager did not say the player would be out for the long-term, admitted a return date is not yet set.
"We are trying to get him back but it’s a thigh strain similar to the one he had at Arsenal so we are having to manage it correctly," Moyes said.
"He has been to Holland to work with the guy he knows over there and we are doing everything we can. There are some injuries you can play with but not the thigh."
Manchester United will be without both Van Persie and Wayne Rooney for the potentially crucial clash with Swansea this weekend, with the latter currently recuperating from his own injury in Egypt.