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Chelsea forward Christopher Nkunku will be out for at least four months after undergoing surgery on a left knee injury.

The 25-year-old, who moved to the club earlier this summer from RB Leipzig, sustained the problem during the 1-1 pre-season draw against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago last week and it will be 16 weeks before he can return to training.

Chelsea said Nkunku will be out for an “extended period” in a statement confirming the injury and operation.

The pitch Chelsea played Dortmund on at Soldier Field drew criticism, with an Ed Sheeran concert taking place on it just a few days before.

But Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino waved away suggestions that the pitch was to blame for Nkunku’s injury, which was sustained during a collision with Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.

“I think it was a bit unlucky in the situation,” Pochettino said after the match, “but we cannot complain about the pitch and blame the pitch for why he suffered the injury. For me, it was bad luck.”

Nkunku’s injury means Chelsea’s only senior forward in the first-team squad ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener against Liverpool is Nicolas Jackson, who signed from Villarreal in June. Romelu Lukaku remains on the books at Stamford Bridge but was not part of the pre-season tour squad that travelled to the U.S. Armando Broja, meanwhile, is still recovering from an ACL injury.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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