Patrick Bamford's latest surgery adds to stop-start feel of Leeds United striker's last 15 months
Although the procedure in Munich was described as "minor" and may not even rule him out of the Whites' next Premier League game, which is not until December 28, it adds to the stop-start nature of his last 15 months.
Since injuring his ankle at Newcastle United on September 17, less than a fortnight after what is his only England camp, he has played in 14 out of a possible 52 club matches, starting just six and not completing them.
Inevitably, that has brought a rustiness to his play. Monday marks a year since the centre-forward's last goal. He missed a penalty amongst a number of presentable chances in October's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.
The problem has been compounded by Leeds's inability to sign a senior centre-forward to provide competition for him, an issue which pre-dates his injury problems.
They declined in January when Marcelo Bielsa was coach and failed in attempts to sign Bamba Dieng and Cody Gakpo in August. Both have played at the World Cup, Dutchman Gakpo scoring in all three group games.
They were able to sign then-18-year-old Italy forward Wilfried Gnonto, but he has been used sparingly, and mainly from wide positions.
The only senior centre-forwards bought since Bamford joined in the summer of 2018 Rodrigo – a hybrid of centre-forward and attacking midfielder – and Jean-Kevin Augustin, who disastrously cost them £18m despite them releasing him at the end of his 2020 loan. Leeds felt their obligation to make his stay permanent had expired on a technicality when Covid-19 delayed the end of the 2021-22 campaign but the Court of Arbitration thought otherwise.
Bamford is expected to be back in contention within a fortnight, giving him a chance of playing in Manchester City's Elland Road visit which marks the resumption of Leeds' Premier League programme after the World Cup.
They have a home friendly against Monaco on December 21 for Bamford to aim at.
Illan Meslier and Kristoffer Klaesson have missed the trip to Spain - which includes a friendly against Elche on Thursday – with viral illnesses. Left-back Junior Firpo did not fly out due to a groin strain but is expected to join the squad later in the week.