By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Radamel Falcao has been ruled out with injury until March, dashing hopes of ending his Chelsea loan spell this month.
The Colombian striker has been sidelined for more than two months with a hamstring problem, which Guus Hiddink admitted on Friday was a growing concern.
Now his parent club Monaco have ruled out taking him back early following an injury setback, meaning he is almost certain to end the season at Stamford Bridge.
Falcao has not featured at all since the end of October because of thigh and hamstring injuries, and underwent checks at Monaco’s training ground this week.
The French club believe he faces an extended spell on the sidelines meaning recalling him to the Stade Louis II is not an appealing option.
The Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said in an interview on the club’s DailyMotion page: “Falcao is currently injured. He has six to eight weeks to go like that. We have decided not to take him back to Monaco for the moment.”
“I’m a little bit worried about Falcao’s situation,” said the interim Chelsea manager at his media briefing on Friday. “He had a set-back, we will see what will happen.”
Falcao has not played since 31 October and has scored just one goal during the first half of his season-long loan from Monaco.
Loic Remy is also sidelined and is not in contention to feature in Sunday’s FA Cup third round clash against Scunthorpe at Stamford Bridge.
Diego Costa, who had a bust-up in training with Oscar on Thursday, is the only fit senior Chelsea striker and Hiddink has revealed he may give a chance to one of the youngsters this weekend.
“We have to be careful with our striker,” said the manager. “Not having Remy or Falcao is a little bit worrying. From the existing squad, I now have more time to see and analyse the potential of the young players. Hopefully there is a surprise.”