AC Milan have been dealt a second major blow this January transfer window with the news that RC Strasbourg Alsace's Mohamed Simakan will be out for two months with a knee injury sustained against RC Lens last weekend which requires arthroscopic intervention.
The Italian giants have been pushing for the signing of the 20-year-old since the start of the current business period to boost central defensive options as an absolute priority but other options on their short list like Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori and Schalke 04's Ozan Kabak will now be considered.
Coming into the current window, Milan were expected to sign Simakan and Toulouse's Manu Kone but both moves are now in danger with the former injured and the latter expected to sign for Borussia Monchengladbach while remaining in Ligue 2 until the summer.
Unfortunately for Milan, Simakan might not be lost for this month only as RB Leipzig remain keen to sign him with the intention of leaving him with Strasbourg until the end of the season in a financially attractive offer to the Ligue 1 outfit who could strengthen this month as they bid to avoid the drop.
According to CBS Sports sources, Chelsea's Tomori is an option Milan have asked about while Schalke's Kabak is a name that has been on their radar for some time and only recently dropped to second place behind Simakan's name.
Milan need defensive reinforcements and Tomori would be a more straightforward signing as the England international is expected to go out on loan this month and is already favorable towards Milan and Serie A as a potential destination.
CBS Sports understands that Kabak is a tougher target due to long-standing Premier League interest -- reciprocated by the player -- and the possibility that an English club moves to sign the Turkey international this month with the likes of RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano unavailable pre-summer.
Another possibility could be somebody like Thilo Kehrer with Paris Saint-Germain willing to consider offers for the Germany international before Mauricio Pochettino's appointment as head coach while Sokratis Papastathopoulos is also available.
Simakan's injury could be a blessing for Strasbourg as he was playing a key role in their improving form of late and a summer sale will increase the likelihood of a bigger transfer fee as French football continues to suffer financially.
The COVID-19 crisis has hit Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs severely and the near financial collapse brought on by Mediapro's short-lived spell as television rights holders has weakened French clubs and their ability to hold on to their top players.