Africa Cup of Nations: The Premier League’s winners and losers
The 2017 African Cup of Nations kicks off next weekend, and that means the bi-annual concern for Premier League managers.
The 16-team tournament could see Prem bosses lose key men for the best part of a month, at a crucial part of the campaign.
So, lets get to it, who is going to struggle, and who should be OK?
Sunderland can’t catch a break. They’re fighting to keep hold of Jermain Defoe, and now David Moyes waves goodbye to three key men.
Didier Ndong is set to turn out for hosts Gabon, while Wahbi Khazri will be on duty for Tunisia. But the biggest loss is unquestionably the imminent absence of Lamine Kone.
And with the Ivory Coast looking to defend their title, Kone could be gone for a good while.
Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City will also be hit hard in the next few weeks.
The Foxes will undoubtedly miss the talents of PFA Player’s Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, who will be representing Algeria.
Islam Slimani has proved a decent summer buy for Claudio Ranieri’s men, but he will line-up alongside Mahrez for The Fennecs.
Daniel Amartey has been called up by Ghana, although the January signing of Wilfred Ndidi should help cover his absence.
And Stoke City fans will be hoping Peter Crouch can maintain his recent hot-streak.
The Potters will be losing a trio of players, and all three are forwards.
Wilfried Bony will be hoping to score Ivory Coast to success, while Mame Biram Diouf and Ramadan Sobhi hope to do the same for Senegal and Egypt respectively.
And things could get tricky West Ham too.
Slaven Bilic has already endured a fraught campaign, but will now be without Andre Ayew (Ghana) and Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal).
The former is a notable blow given he’s already missed eight games through injury, although Sofiane Feghouli has been left out of the Algeria squad.
Sam Allardyce’s job at Crystal Palace will get harder. The Eagles boss will be without Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako, who will turn out for Ivory Coast and Mali respectively.
And whoever does take the reigns at Hull, will have to make do without two key men.
Powerhouse forward Dieumerci Mbokani is included in the DR Congo squad, while Ahmed Elmohamady is in the Egyptian team.
Ordinarily, Arsenal should have enough in hand to cover the departing Egyptian Mohamed Elneny.
But with Francis Coquelin ruled out for a month, Arsene Wenger must hope Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey come good.
First up, each of the following teams have no players heading to Gabon; Burnley, Chelsea, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Swansea, West Brom, Tottenham.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will have a job on his hands to replace Senegal forward Sadio Mane, who looks certain to miss the crunch clash with Chelsea at the end of the month. But that’s the only absentee for the Anfield club.
And though Everton boss Ronald Koeman won’t be pleased about losing midfield enforcer Idrissa Gueye to Senegal, the Toffees shouldn’t feel too much impact.
Likewise for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, who will lose Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly.
South coast rivals Bournemouth and Southampton lose one player each, in the shape of Max Gradel (Ivory Coast) and Sofiane Boufal (Morocco) respectively.
Finally, Watford will lose three players, but neither Brice Dja Djedje (Ivory Coast) or Adlene Guediora (Algeria) have featured much for the Hornets this term.
The absence of Moroccan Nordin Amrabat will be felt though.
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