Juventus defender Merih Demiral will be sidelined for six to seven months after undergoing a successful surgery to repair his injured knee.
The Bianconeri reported the news on Tuesday. The Turkey international traveled to Austria for the surgery, which was described as "perfectly successful." The doctor who performed the surgery, Christian Fink, performed a similar procedure on Giorgio Chiellini's knee earlier this season.
Demiral injured his left knee during the 2-1 win over AS Roma on Sunday. He scored the opener―his first for the club―early in the match, but had to come off inside the first 20 minutes after landing awkwardly:
The 21-year-old was in the midst of a breakout spell for the Serie A champions. He joined from Sassuolo in the summer, but found himself behind Leonardo Bonucci and fellow summer arrival Matthijs de Ligt for the first few months of the season.
Demiral finally got his chance in the UEFA Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen in December. The youngster impressed greatly, and started every subsequent match up to Sunday's trip to the capital.
It's a cruel blow for the defender, who had earned the confidence of manager Maurizio Sarri and was quickly becoming a fan favourite. The timeline for his recovery also means he's likely to miss this summer's European Championship, where he was expected to partner with Caglar Soyuncu of Leicester City.
Juventus are waiting on the return of Chiellini, who suffered his injury in August and is expected to be fit again in March or April. Until then, Bonucci, De Ligt and Daniele Rugani are the only designated centre-backs in the squad.
Sarri talked up the latter pair in Tuesday's press conference, and also highlighted Emre Can's ability to help out if needed:
Juventus could dive into the transfer market for added emergency depth, but have plenty of internal options if needed.
Cristian Romero, another youngster bought in the summer, could be recalled from his loan at Genoa. Highly rated prospect Paolo Gozzi made his debut last season and is currently playing for the academy teams.