Watford winger Ismaila Sarr has travelled to Spain just short of a week after he left the club to join up with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations.

He is now under the care of Dr Ramon Cugat, a knee specialist in Barcelona, who will assess his knee injury, with his national team finally agreeing that he is currently in no position to play, after carrying out their own assessments.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse had previously said he hoped the 23-year-old might be available for the knockout stages of the tournament, which would come around the end of the month, and it is understood that they do still hold out some small hope of that happening.

Their hopes of reaching the latter stages were boosted with a narrow 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in their opening group stage match. 

However, should they progress beyond the group stages, the chances of Sarr playing are increasingly slim, with the player now having missed a week of rehabilitation while flying between Watford, Africa and now Spain.

Club sources say they are currently coordinating a recovery plan with Dr Cugat "to find the best pathway to make all parties happy" while considering what will provide the best results for Sarr's knee.

He will remain in Spain for the time being before a decision is made on where is best for him to continue his rehabilitation.

Information is being shared between the club and his nation to ensure that all parties are kept up-to-date on the situation and, to prevent further dispute.

The issue of Sarr's injury has been something of a bone of contention between the Hornets and Senegal with a disagreement between the two parties rumbling on for several weeks now.

Senegal’s Football Federation accused Watford of preventing him from playing at the tournament, even after they were informed of both the rehabilitation process and likely timeframe of recovery by the club.

They labelled Watford as both “pernicious” and “disrespectful”, saying: “By mail on Friday, December 31, the English club Watford notified on the basis of arguments equally specious as fallacious its decision to block the player Ismaila Sarr, who has expressed his desire to join the Senegalese selection for the next Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

“The Senegal Football Federation wishes to express with this communication its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour of Watford’s hierarchy who look by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team.”

This led to Watford releasing a statement of their own, explaining why the player would not be able to feature at the competition.

It reads: “Ismaila Sarr suffered a knee ligament injury on November 20 in the match against Manchester United and has not been fit to play for Watford FC since that date.

“In early December, the Club wrote to the Senegal Football Federation outlining the clinical diagnosis of Ismaila’s injury and immediately followed that up by supplying the MRI scans detailing the extent of the injury. After further consultation with medical experts, we informed the Federation of Ismaila’s rehabilitation process and likely timeframe of recovery.

“Within the past 10 days, the Club has reiterated to the Senegal Football Federation the player’s current medical status and recovery schedule.

“The Hornets have have also invited the Senegal Football Federation to instruct their own independent surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and rehabilitation period.”