The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will kick off in January 2022, leaving a number of Premier League clubs without several key stars and at a crucial point of the season.
The tournament was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and wet weather concerns, but it is now set to go ahead with a host of big-name players to jet off to the continent.
The 2021 AFCON was initially due to be held in June and July 2021, but has been put back to early 2022.
It will now take place from January 9 to February 6 2022, with Cameroon the host nation.
The timing of the competition’s move will undoubtedly lead to frustration from Premier League managers, who will be presented with a big challenge to cope without their star men, with some set to be gone for almost a month of action.
None more so than Liverpool and Arsenal who arguably have the toughest jobs on their hands.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita will all leave the Reds for Egypt, Senegal and Guinea respectively.
Meanwhile, Gunners stars Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey will join up with the Gabon, Ivory Coast and Ghana squads.
And there’s little chance of stopping their key men from leaving, especially with some already frustrated after COVID restrictions stopped them from playing in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Man City will also be without Riyad Mahrez of Algeria, the current holders from the last edition in Egypt 2019 who will be aiming to retain their title.
But those Premier League giants will not be the only clubs that will be left short during the crunch New Year period.
Here’s a list of all the top flight players set to take part in the AFCON and miss Premier League action in early 2022:
It is certainly going to a testing time for the majority of these Premier League clubs as they hope these losses will not affect their aspirations for the rest of the season.
Premier League players going to AFCON 2021
Arsenal: Thomas Partey (Ghana), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)
Aston Villa: Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt), Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso), Marvelous Nakamba (Zimbabwe)
Brentford: Julian Jeanvier (Guinea), Frank Onyeka (Nigeria), Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana),
Brighton: Yves Bissouma (Mali)
Burnley: Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)
Chelsea: Edouard Mendy (Senegal), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
Crystal Palace: Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)
Everton: Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
Leeds United: None
Leicester City: Daniel Amartey (Ghana), Nampalys Mendy (Senegal), Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria), Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
Liverpool: Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Naby Keita (Guinea), Sadio Mane (Senegal)
Manchester City: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Manchester United: Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast), Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)
Newcastle United: None
Norwich City: None
Southampton: Moussa Djenepo (Mali), Mohammed Salisu (Ghana),
Tottenham Hotspur: None
Watford: Peter Etebo (Nigeria), William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria), Adam Masina (Morocco), Ismaila Sarr (Senegal), Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria)
West Ham: None
Wolves: Romain Saiss (Morocco)