Premier League players expected to depart for AFCON

Date published: Monday 5th September 2016 12:04

Eric Bailly

On Sunday, qualification for the biennial African Cup of Nations drew to a close. As is traditional, many fans of Premier League clubs are already panicking over which players they will lose for up to five weeks in January and February.

Here, Football365 takes a look at which players each team could lose for the tournament in Gabon. Sunderland are bloody doomed.


Expect Mohamed Elneny to receive a call-up for Egypt. He has 44 caps for his country, and featured in every single minute of their qualifying campaign.


Expect Max Gradel to receive a call-up for Ivory Coast. He has 44 caps for his country, and scored once in a successful qualifying campaign.


All of Burnley’s players are British. Move along.


Nigeria’s inability to qualify means that John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses will stay at home for the winter. Antonio Conte will lose no players.


Crystal Palace
Expect Bakary Sako and Pape Souare to go missing for the January sales. Sako is a regular for Mali, while Souare should receive the call from Senegal.


The Toffees could be among the biggest sufferers, with summer signings Idrissa Gueye and Yannick Bolasie expected to be called up by Senegal and DR Congo respectively. What’s worse, Oumar Niasse could make the Senegal squad, although he barely featured in qualification. Arouna Kone did not play at all for the Ivorians, but fingers crossed for him.


Hull City
Ahmed Elmohamady could potentially make the Egypt squad. He did not play a single minute of their successful qualifying campaign, but does have 71 international caps to his name.


It could be a difficult winter for the champions. Riyad Mahrez will join club-record signing Islam Slimani in the Algeria squad, barring any shocks. Daniel Amartey and Jeffrey Schlupp share just 21 Ghana caps between them, but are regular squad members. Even Yohan Benalouane could be off with Tunisia. How will they cope?

The good news comes in the form of Nigeria’s inability to qualify, which frees up Ahmed Musa for the new year.


Anfield could bid a temporary farewell to just two players, but two very important first-team players, no less. Sadio Mane is a certainty to make the Senegal squad, while Joel Matip is only a maybe for Cameroon. He has not played for his country since September 2015, but you never know.


Manchester City
Pep Guardiola will fight through the tears to bid an emotional farewell to Yaya Toure. The midfielder has not been a regular for Ivory Coast since captaining them to victory in this tournament in 2015, but he remains an influential figure. The failure of Nigeria is once more a reprieve for Premier League sides; Kelechi Iheanacho will be staying.


Manchester United
Expect Eric Bailly to receive a call-up from the Ivory Coast. He has 14 caps for his country, and featured regularly in qualifying.


Spain is not in Africa, and so Middlesbrough lose no players. Lucky them.


For a club who lost Sadio Mane and, even worse, Emmanuel Mayuka at the 2015 edition, it is conceivable that no Southampton players are headed to Gabon for 2017. New record signing Sofiane Boufal could make Morocco’s squad, but he has just two caps to his name.


The Potters had better not become too attached to Wilfried Bony, because he is the property of the Ivory Coast from January. He will be joined in Gabon by Mame Biram Diouf of Senegal, and Ramadan Sobhi will be anxiously waiting by the phone for a call from Egypt.


If you thought Sunderland’s squad was a little short now, wait until January. Lamine Kone is a likely call-up for Senegal; Wahbi Khazri should make the Tunisia squad; £21.6m worth of summer signings (they only signed £27.6m worth of players anyway) will also depart in club-record signing Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji. Pray for David Moyes.


Gambia finished bottom of their qualifying group, which means Modou Barrow will have to stay in Wales all year. Poor thing.


Kenya finished bottom of their qualifying group, which means Victor Wanyama will have to stay in London all year. Poor thing.


The Hornets are likely to lose three players. Nordin Amrabat of Morocco is the biggest absentee, with Adlene Guedioura of Algeria and summer signing Brice Dja Djedje – who didn’t even make the club’s 25-man Premier League squad – of the Ivory Coast also missing.

Walter Mazzarri will be thanking his lucky stars that Nigeria only finished second in qualifying, mind. Odion Ighalo and Isaac Success are sticking around.


West Brom
Expect Allan Nyom to receive a call-up from Cameroon. He has 14 caps for his country, and featured a couple of times in qualifying.


West Ham
Not content with losing around 427 players to injury already this season, the Hammers must put up with departures in the new year. Sofiane Feghouli will link up with Algeria, Cheikou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho should make up part of Senegal’s squad, and Ghana would rather enjoy the services of club-record signing Andre Ayew, providing he is available after his current injury.


Matt Stead

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