Arsenal Will Have The African Cup Of Nations To Contend With Over The Month Of January

Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all set to join up with Ghana, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Gabon respectively.

The Arsenal midfield in particular looks thin with the two absences. Granit Xhaka, Sambi Lokonga and Ainsley Maitland-Niles would be the only natural senior options.

The possibility of Arsenal signing a player in the winter window has been touted as a possible solution to the problem. Finding a player however in the January transfer period of the requisite quality and affordability can be difficult.

“Well, if you can tweak what you need to tweak in that period obviously it will be really helpful,” he explained ahead of the match with Norwich City. “We are working on that to see the necessities that we have and if we can find the right solutions to that.”

However, technical director Edu and Arteta, who have worked well together on recruitment, will be given some further time to consider midfield reinforcement after the latest twist in the AFCON.

The Confederation of African Football has accepted a request from the domestic leagues to delay the release of players for the tournament according to the Associated Press.

FIFA deputy secretary general Mattias Grafström confirmed the news.

“CAF has decided that for those players who have official club matches between the 27 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, the participating member associations in question are to be directed that these players may remain with their clubs to participate in these matches and be released after the last match during this period,” Grafström wrote.

Therefore, were Arsenal planning to make any signings early in the window to cover the absence of both Partey and Elneny they need not panic. At least not immediately.

The aforementioned quartet of African players set to depart for Cameroon for Arsenal will be able to play against Manchester City on New Years Day.

Therefore, an Arsenal signing at the start of the window would first be eligible for the League Cup semi-final first leg match with Liverpool at the Emirates on the 6th of January.

Arsenal have been linked to Bologna’s Mattias Svanberg. The 22-year-old midfielder, a former teammate of the successful summer singing Takehiro Tomiyasu, could be the man the Gunners pursue to provide the midfield further reinforcement.

With Liverpool losing Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita due to the AFCON, both sides will have rotated teams and opening the door to a greater unpredictability to the contest’s outcome.

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