LONDON • Absolutely devastating. That was the reaction of former Tottenham forward Chris Waddle to the news Harry Kane would be ruled out for at least two months after suffering ankle ligament damage during the 1-0 Premier League loss to Manchester United over the weekend.
Spurs' prospects of winning a first trophy under manager Mauricio Pochettino this season suffered a significant blow on Tuesday when the club announced Kane - the league's joint-top scorer on 14 goals - was "expected to return to training in early March".
"Following preliminary assessments, we can confirm that @HKane has damaged ligaments in his left ankle," an official Spurs tweet read. "He will continue to be monitored by our medical staff as he commences rehabilitation."
The England captain tweeted in response that while "injuries are part of the game, no one will be working harder to get back fit".
The talismanic striker could possibly miss 12 matches, including a potential League Cup final, both legs of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, and seven league games, as Spurs strive to keep up with leaders Liverpool and Manchester City.
The 25-year-old is no stranger to ankle problems, having endured time on the sidelines in the last three years and missing seven weeks in 2016 in what was his most significant spell out.
However, with Tottenham 1-0 up in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final against Chelsea, his absence this time is untimely.
Pochettino, who has yet to deliver silverware since joining the club in 2014, is already without Son Heung-min - potentially until Feb 1 - while he plays for South Korea at the Asian Cup, and he has ruled out reintroducing out-of-favour Vincent Janssen to the first team.
That leaves Lucas Moura, who should return at Fulham on Sunday after knee trouble, and Fernando Llorente - who has in effect been available for transfer and has been the subject of interest from Barcelona - as his strike options for the foreseeable future.
The club had not anticipated entering the market this month and it remains to be seen if that policy shifts in the wake of Kane's injury.
Waddle told BBC Radio 5 Live it was now imperative for Spurs to bolster their front line in the transfer window and prevent their season from petering out.
He said: "I'm sure they're looking around Europe. Could they get someone on loan to tick them over until the end of the season?"
However, The Mirror claimed that Spurs could instead splash the cash with Bournemouth's Callum Wilson mooted as a possibility.
While the Cherries have reportedly slapped a £75 million (S$130.6 million) asking price on the England forward to ward off any suitors, Sky Sports said Spurs have "admired" the 26-year-old for some time.
His nine league goals in 20 appearances this season have fired his club to mid-table safety and Sky Sports pundit Liam Rosenior felt Wilson would be the "perfect fit" to fill Kane's shoes.
The former Brighton defender added: "He is of a profile where he would be delighted to have the chance to play for a club like Spurs.
"He gives them the pace to run in behind. I wouldn't be surprised if they put a marker down, and show they want to keep Pochettino and build for the future."
THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON