Alex Iwobi suffered a heartbreaking elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday, meaning he has one more match until he finally begins his holiday.
Across the youth and senior international sides, Arsenal had a lot of players featuring for their country over the summer. From the likes of Granit Xhaka at the Nations League, to Reiss Nelson at the u21 European Championships, to Lucas Torreira at Copa America.
At AFCON, Arsenal had two representatives, Mohamed Elneny of Egypt and Alex Iwobi of Nigeria.
Egypt crashed out in the round-of-16 against South Africa, and on Sunday Nigeria joined them, losing in the semi-final against Algeria. Riyad Mahrez scored Algeria’s winner late in injury time, so it was a devastating finish for the Arsenal man and his country.
Unfortunately, AFCON has a third-place playoff match, so Iwobi will have to stick around until Wednesday to face Tunisia. At least that’s a couple of days earlier than if he had to stay for the final on Friday.
Iwobi will then have to take a minimum of three weeks of holiday, meaning he’ll miss the remainder of Arsenal’s pre-season. If he doesn’t take any extra time off (Arsenal often give players four weeks) he’ll be back just before the Premier League season starts.
The winger will need time to get up to speed at that point though, so there’s very little chance he’ll make the squad against Newcastle, or even Burnley the next week. The game against Liverpool on August 24th is a reasonable return date.