The Premier League Clubs That Will Be Weakened The Most Upon AFCON 2017
Posted by Jordan Clarke | Published on September 6, 2016
Come January, the African Cup Of Nations will have arrived, which will mean the wrath of some Premier League managers will be felt as their squad’s become dismantled as they enter the last few months of the 2016/2017 campaign. Whilst the AFCON features all of Africa’s greatest footballers, it also leaves Premier League clubs struck bare of their best talents, meaning the tournament could play a big part in the title race, or even the battle to stay up this season.
Manchester United (1)
José Mourinho enjoyed a scintillating transfer window as he took control of Manchester United this season and one of the additions the Portuguese manager made was central defender Eric Bailly. The Ivorian, if selected, will indulge into the AFCON with the Côte d’Ivoire come January, meaning Manchester United’s most impressive addition so far will miss an important part of the season with his new club. The absence of the 23-year-old could ruin Manchester United’s rhythm, and ultimately cost them a top spot finish.
Liverpool are set to suffer two losses due to the arrival of the AFCON and both are new signings made by Jürgen Klopp this summer. Saido Mané couldn’t have wished for a better start as a Liverpool player, scoring a stunning goal as Liverpool took on Arsenal at the Emirates, which Liverpool won 3-2. His blistering pace was something Liverpool have missed since the sale of Raheem Sterling and the Senegalese man has replaced it superbly, giving Klopp a real problem when he departs. Central defender Joel Matip looked to be the answer to Liverpool’s defensive problems but as the new year arrives, he could also depart for the 5-week period to join up with the Cameroon squad, meaning Jürgen Klopp may have to break the bank once the winter transfer window arrives. Although, Matip has been involved in a dispute between himself and the Cameroon head coach, in which he didn’t answer his phone calls, and therefore the 25-year-old may not be called up for his national team.
Stoke City (3)
Perhaps not the biggest losses but Stoke City will be without Wilfried Bony, Mame Biram Diouf, and Ramadan Sobhi once the AFCON begins. Mark Hughes managed to sign Wilfried Bony on a season-long loan from Manchester City, but the Ivorian will miss the whole of January due to International commitments, providing Stoke a selection dilemma.
Everton enter the new season under new ownership and new management. Ronald Koeman has replaced Roberto Martínez and huge sums of money have reportedly been pumped into the Merseyside club by co-owner Farhad Moshiri and the first signs of this can be seen with the addition of Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace. Although, the skillful winger will also depart in January as he pledged his allegiance to DR Congo, who have qualified for the AFCON. The 27-year-old won’t be the only person on the plane out of England as Idrissa Gueye and Oumar Niasse will join up with Saido Mané in the Senegal squad.
David Moyes may be dreading the arrival of January as he is set to lose four players come a crucial time of the season, many expect another relegation battle for Sunderland this season and the African Cup Of Nations will only be a negative to the black cats. Lamine Koné, Papy Djilobodji, Wahbi Khazri, and Didier Ibrahim Ndong will depart from Tyneside in order to link up with their national teams. Sunderland will be massively weakened and the January transfer window may be a huge one for David Moyes if he wishes to achieve anything this season.
West Ham (4)
West Ham United look to enter the club’s new era this season by entering the Olympic stadium and with help from superstar Dimitri Payet, their squad is looking a lot more exciting than the days under Sam Allardyce. Although, a disappointing start to the season was followed by club record signing Andre Ayew becoming injured and West Ham have picked up three points from nine in the 2016/2017 campaign. If Ayew is fit, he, Sofiane Feghouli, Diafra Sakho, and Cheikou Kouyate could all depart for the AFCON, leaving Slaven Bilic rubbing his head.
Leicester City (5)
Before the summer began, Leicester were handed the task of holding onto their star men in Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, and N’Golo Kante as clubs came swarming around the champions hoping to tempt their heroes of last season. Three games in and Leicester have managed to maintain both Vardy and Mahrez, which little expected to be possible a few months ago. It was a brilliant summer for Claudio Ranieri but come January, things may look slightly worse off. Riyad Mahrez, Daniel Amartey, Jeffrey Schlupp and new-boy Islam Slimani, who was signed for £28m, are all expected to depart when the AFCON arrives, meaning the Premier League Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, will be helping Algeria for five weeks, instead of Leicester. The fifth is on-loan defender Yohan Benalouane who will be unable to call back from Fiorentina due to his AFCON campaign with Tunisia.