Chelsea confirm AFCON departure as key man set to miss Preston, Middlesbrough and Fulham games

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Senegal striker Nicolas Jackson is Chelsea's joint top scorer with eight goals this season.

Chelsea have released a statement confirming the departure of striker Nicolas Jackson to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after the hard-fought win against Luton

The Senegal striker has now joined his international teammates and, depending on how far the Teranga Lions go in the tournament, he could be away for a month and will miss crucial league, FA Cup and League Cup games.

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Chelsea said in a statement on Tuesday morning: "Nicolas Jackson has been named as part of the Senegal squad which will attempt to defend their Africa Cup of Nations title in 2024.

"The striker will be hoping to add to his six senior caps for his country, the first of which also came at a major tournament, when he was part of the Senegal squad at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"Senegal are the defending Africa Cup of Nations champions, with former Chelsea duo Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly helping the Lions of Teranga defeat Egypt on penalties in the last final two years ago. The pair are both included alongside Nicolas Jackson for this tournament.

"The Africa Cup of Nations will take place in the Ivory Coast and begins on January 13, with the final played on February 11.

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"Senegal have been drawn in Group C alongside Cameroon, Guinea and Gambia, and will open their campaign against Gambia in Yamoussoukro on Monday January 15, kicking off at 2pm UK time. Good luck, Nicolas!"

Jackson grabbed an assist as Chelsea held on desperately for a 3-2 win against Luton Town in the Premier League. He is the club's top scorer with eight goals, alongside fellow summer signing Cole Palmer.

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