By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Cheikhou Kouyate has delivered an upbeat message to Aaron Cresswell on Twitter after he was ruled out for up to four months by West Ham with a knee injury.
The Hammers revealed on their official website the extent of the damage suffered by the 26-year-old in Saturday’s pre-season victory over German side Karlsruher.
The left-back was hurt in a challenge and will require an extended spell on the sidelines of between three and four months before he is fit to play again.
Cresswell’s midfield colleague Kouyate is in no doubt about the influence of the 26-year-old, who has been a key West Ham player since joining from Ipswich in 2014.
Speaking on his personal Twitter account, Kouyate told Cresswell “we will miss you” but backed him to “come back strong”.
— cheikhou kouyate 8 (@PapiCheikhou) July 25, 2016
West Ham revealed that Cresswell had undergone a scan and will consult a specialist in central London early next week. The medical team will then take a decision whether or not the defender requires surgery.
“Whatever course of action we decide to take, Aaron faces a period of rest, followed by treatment and rehabilitation and he will be out for a period of between three and four months,” the club’s head of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke told the West Ham website.
An extended period on the sidelines for Cresswell could cause major problems for West Ham, with make-shift left-back Angelo Ogbonna the only senior replacement in the squad.
Cresswell was a key player last year in an outstanding season for West Ham, who defied the odds to finish seventh in the Premier League and guarantee European football for this campaign.
The former Ipswich man arrived in East London in 2014 and immediately made an impact, winning Hammer of the Year in his first season.
West Ham loaned out young left-back Stephen Hendrie to Blackburn Rovers last month and now look set to bring in a ready-made defender, rather than recall the Scottish Under-21 international.
In other West Ham transfer news, they will have to pay £14.3million if they want Swansea’s international star.