Some of the Africa players who will be missing for London’s Premier League sides (Getty Images)
The Africa Cup of Nations is less than 90 days away and Premier League clubs are already thinking of the best ways to respond to losing key players for more than a month at a crucial stage of the season.
The 2021 AFCON was initially due to be held in June and July 2021, but had to put back to early 2022 due Covid-19 restrictions and weather conditions in Cameroon.
It will now take place between January 9 to February 6 2022, in Cameroon.
So which London Premier League club will lose the most players to the competition early next year?
Arsenal will have three key players out. Captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, midfielder Thomas Partey and winger Nicolas Pepe will all travel to Cameroon to represent Gabon, Ghana and the Ivory Coast respectively.
High flying Brentford will be hoping that they would’ve secured their Premier League status for another season by the time January comes along.
They will have Julian Jeanvier ( Guinea) Frank Onyeka ( Nigeria) and Tarique Fosu ( Ghana) all away for the Africa Cup of Nations.
A few years ago Chelsea lost about five first team players to the Africa Cup of Nations, from Solomon Kalou to Didier Drogba and Michael Essien amongst the big hitters.
They still have a few representatives with first choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy ( Senegal) and Hakim Ziyech ( Morocco) all expected to be away for up to a month in January.
Patrick Vieira side have only bagged one win from their first seven games of the season and he will be hoping that things improve on that score before talisman Wilfred Zara leaves in January to join the Ivory Coast.
Both Jordan Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp are also likely to be called up by Ghana, Cheikhou Kouyate is set to be part of the Senegal team that will play at the Tournament.
Tottenham currently have no African player in their first team squad.
West Ham manager David Moyes only has Said Benrahma to worry about as the Algerian is the only African player in his team .
Watford is the London Premier League club that will feel the effects of having players leave for the Africa Cup of Nations with several key players coming from Africa.
Peter Etebo (still out with an injury), Emmanuel Dennis and William Troost-Ekong all from Nigeria will be hoping to be part of the Super Eagles team that will travel to Cameroon in January.
Adam Masima will also be playing for a place in the Atlas Lions of Morocco’s squad.
But the biggest miss will be the absence of star man Ismaila Sarr who will have to team up with The Teranga Lions of Senegal.