Manchester City could be without Ivorian star Yaya Toure for up to six weeks during a crucial stage of their Premier League campaign even as reports emerged that Chelsea are trying to lure him away from Etihad Stadium in January.
With Ivory Coast having virtually secured a qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations, Toure could miss seven games for the Blues in January if his team goes all the way to the final again.
It would be a major blow for champions City who are already without the injured David Silva.
Toure insists he will represent his country in the finals finals which takes place in South Africa from January 19 to February 10, despite the riots which disrupted the qualifier against Senegal at the weekend.
But more disturbing will be the news that Chelsea are lining up a bid for the unsettled Ivory Coast star who is unlikely to be offered a fresh contract next summer.
David Platt fuelled transfer speculation by suggesting no-one at the club is indispensable amid reports they were making a move for Barcelona's Sergey Busquets.
Toure’s agent, Dmitri Selcuk is reported to have said: "He would like a new challenge, could sign for many big clubs like Chelsea and Bayern Munich."
City hope he will choose to stay in England and help his club defend their Barclays Premier League title.