Harry Maguire limped off in Manchester United’s win at Aston Villa leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sweating on his fitness.
The Red Devils skipper has been an ever present since joining from Leicester in 2019.
United’s defence has centred around him and the timing of his injury could not be worse with the Europa League Final not far away.
Solskjaer could not give any guarantees about Maguire’s availability for the showpiece in Gdansk on May 26 as he waited on a proper diagnosis.
“Hopefully that [the final] will be with Harry Maguire, I don’t know,“ said the Norwegian.
”We’ve got to check it. It might be a few weeks, might be a couple of days – who knows. I’m not a doctor and we’ve got to check him and scan him tomorrow.
“It was his ankle, lower leg. I think the boy landed on top of him. So he twisted his ankle and got a knock.”
Solskjaer will now have to seek an all new defensive partnership having always picked Maguire in his backline.
Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have been his two most regular partners, although the Swede is certainly the preferred choice.
Bailly recently penned a new deal despite doubts over his future.
The Ivorian was dropped for the second-leg clash with AC Milan earlier in the Europa League and was said to be “furious”.
“Eric has had enough now,” a source at United told The Sun. “He simply doesn’t feel wanted or respected by the manager.
“Eric doesn’t believe he gets any answers or explanation about the way he is treated and feels he is the easy option to leave out.”
Bailly’s decision to sign a new contract suggests those issues may have been ironed out and it seems likely that, in the absence of Maguire, he and Lindelof will be preferred.
Solskjaer has used them together in Europe this term and they secured a clean sheet in the draw with Real Sociedad in the Round of 32.
The Norwegian spoke after the game about his various options and made it clear that Maguire, Lindelof and Bailly were his main three.
Tuanzebe has been used sporadically with his versatility a strength.
“Both of them played well tonight,” Solskjaer said previously. “So Eric and Victor and Harry, three very good centre-backs I rely on and Axel [Tuanzebe] as well, so I have four to choose from, although Axel played in midfield.
“Sometimes it’s the opposition, sometimes it’s the form, sometimes it’s little things and I think the two of them will keep on playing and they might be playing together as well.”
Bailly’s injury problems have hampered his career at Old Trafford ever since he signed from Villarreal in 2016.
That in part has been beneficial for Lindelof who has been able to establish himself as a regular.
Despite Solskjaer’s options it is understood that a new centre-half is on his shopping list this summer.