Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Elneny are set to miss a chunk of next season after their respective countries qualified for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon
Ghana and Egypt sealed their places at the tournament thanks to 1-1 draws with South Africa and Kenya, while Auba grabbed an assist and goal as Gabon beat DR Congo 3-0.
⚡ Incredible performance
— CAF (@CAF_Online) March 25, 2021
Nicolas Pepe’s Ivory Coast are also in line to qualify. They could go top of qualifier Group K with a win over Niger.
The 33rd edition of the AFCON was originally scheduled to take place this summer to bring it in line with other major tournaments. Its start date has since shifted twice.
Concerns about unfavourable climatic conditions saw organisers CAF bring it forward to January 2021 but due to coronavirus, it was decided to delay it for 12 months.
Assuming all four players are still on the books at Arsenal come the start of next season, the tournament is definitely going to provide Edu and Mikel Arteta with a headache.
This summer’s squad rebuild is complicated enough without the worry of covering absentees for potentially 4-6 weeks.
While Arsenal has a proud history of African players, the timing of the AFCON has been a cause for concern at the club for more than 15 years. As far back as 2004, Arsene Wenger said it was affecting the prospects of African players signing for major European clubs.
Arsenal’s African internationals
Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)
Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)
Kaba Diawara (Guinea)
Emmanuel Eboue (Ivory Coast)
Alex Song (Cameroon)
Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast)
Emmanuel Frimpong (Ghana)
Armand Traore (Senegal)
Gervinho (Ivory Coast)
Christopher Wreh (Liberia)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)
Thomas Partey (Ghana)
Mo Elneny (Egpyt)