The Africa Cup of Nations will take place in January 2022, a year after the original tournament dates, which will have a knock-on effect for Arsenal.
Following the postponement of Euro 2020 to 2021, The Confederation of African Football announced this week that the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 will take place in 2022 instead. Due to the ongoing situation with coronavirus, it just wasn’t realistic to plan for the tournament next January.
This is relevant to Arsenal in a number of cases. Firstly, Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) won’t need to miss part of the next club season. Unless he extends his contract, Aubameyang will be gone anyway by January 2022.
Secondly, it may well have an impact for assets Arsenal are looking to sell this summer. If the Gunners end up selling Aubameyang, they’ll have more to bargain with than just one heavily-disrupted season.
Mohamed Elneny (Egypt) also won’t miss any of the next campaign. That will help in negotiations with Besiktas or any other interested club.
Finally, it could even affect Arsenal’s summer incomings. Ghana have two wins in two from their qualifiers so far, so they’re likely to feature at the tournament. Maybe that might have convinced Arsenal to wait another year to bring in Thomas Partey.
It’s a shame the event won’t take place for another year, particularly for all the people working on organising it. But from an Arsenal point of view, until AFCON stops taking place at the same time as club matches, it’s hard not to be glad about the delays.