Tottenham do not expect summer signing Giovani Lo Celso to be fully up to speed physically for many months, Football Insider understands.
The Argentine attacking midfielder has made just three substitute appearances since being signed on a loan-to-buy deal at the end of the summer window.
A Tottenham source has told Football Insider that Lo Celso is making progress in his bid to recover from a hip injury sustained on international duty in September.
The Argentine is in the final stage of rehabilitation and doing outdoor training work at the club’s Enfield headquarters.
But he is not expected to be available fully recovered until the end of this month and even then he will only be gradually phased back into first-team action.
Lo Celso did not have a proper pre-season after playing for Argentina at the Copa America in the summer ahead of his early-August move to north London.
The club’s staff believe he is a long way behind the first-team regulars in terms of his base fitness and it will be a number of months before he can start matches and play the full 90 minutes.
That will be very frustrating for supporters, who were excited when he was prised from Real Betis in an initial £15million deal.
Lo Celso has had just 44 minutes of first-team action for Tottenham, making three substitute appearances since he joined.
He had an impressive record for Real Betis last season, scoring 16 goals and supplying six assists across 45 appearances.
In other Tottenham news, it can be REVEALED that Chelsea have ambushed Tottenham deal after player holds London talks.