Everton have confirmed Lucas Digne is set to undergo surgery on an ankle ligament injury sustained in training this week.
Left-back Digne has made an impressive start to the season, with his link-up with James Rodriguez – who has played predominantly on the right flank for Everton with the freedom to drift inside – a crucial part of Everton's attack.
From eight Premier League appearances this term, Digne has created 16 chances, second behind only James (18) in regards to Everton players, while the former Barcelona man has registered four assists, including two in a 3-2 win over Fulham last time out.
Digne has started every league game he has been available for this term, with the 27-year-old having been suspended for a defeat to Newcastle United following a red card in a 2-0 loss to Southampton on October 25.
Niels Nkounkou replaced Digne in that match, and the youngster would seem the natural replacement for his fellow Frenchman.
Everton added that Digne will go under the knife on Monday, before starting his rehabilitation process. No timeframe has been placed on his return, though it is expected he will be out of action for around two months.
That will keep him out of a hectic festive period, which includes an EFL Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United.
Since Digne signed for Everton under Marco Silva in August 2018, the France international has missed just seven league games, appearing 78 times in the top flight.
Everton, who face Leeds United have only managed two wins from those seven games, conceding an average of 1.9 goals per game, compared to 1.3 with Digne in the side.
While Digne is solid at the back, the Toffees will be missing a huge creative influence going forward – he has created more chances than any other Premier League defender since the start of the 2018-19 season, while only Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson (26 each) have more assists among defenders in that time.
Digne also ranks the highest for assists (15), interceptions (109), crosses from open play (357) and tackles (160) in Everton's squad since his Premier League debut.