Papa injury blow

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MANCHESTER UNITED target Papa Bouba Diop will be out until the New Year after tests discovered he needs surgery on a groin problem.

The Lens midfielder revealed recently that he has been watched by Old Trafford representatives on a number of occasions this season, following his impressive performances at the World Cup finals for Senegal.

Having already played in the Champions League, it is unlikely the African ace would have been a January target for Sir Alex Ferguson in any case, particularly as the United boss has made a new left back and striker his priority purchases.

However, Diop has had the bad injury news from club doctors and has been told he faces an operation within the next fortnight.

The all-action player has been suffering from a number of related injury concerns, and will be happy to get back to full fitness in 2003.

Lens will also be without the suspended Cyril Rool for their next fixture with Auxerre.