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Pep return won't distract Barcelona

Barcelona
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Sidibe's season over as striker undergoes surgery

Stoke City have confirmed that Mamady Sidibe's Premier League season has come to an abrupt halt after only two games as the striker has suffered a snapped Achilles tendon.

• Pulis rules out Crouch bid

Sidibe sustained the injury in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham and the club confirmed on Monday that he is undergoing surgery in London.

The serious injury - similar to that suffered by David Beckham when playing for AC Milan in March - means that Sidibe will not be available for the remainder of the Premier League season.

"The 30-year-old Malian international was having an operation in London on the damaged Achilles which he suffered just minutes after being introduced as a second-half substitute in the Barclays Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur," read a club statement. "The injury will sideline Sidibe for the rest of the season."

Confirmation of Sidibe's blow means Tony Pulis is likely to redouble his efforts to sign a striker in the final eight days of the transfer window.

However, the Stoke boss has denied that Tottenham striker Peter Crouch is a realistic target given his likely wage demands and transfer fee.

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