Arsenal could be set to keep their AFCON attendees for one more game against Manchester City, after a decision from CAF.
AP report that European clubs are now allowed to delay the release of players to Africa Cup of Nations squads until January 3rd, following a decision from the Confederations of African Football.
Initially, any players involved in the tournament were set to leave on December 27th, meaning Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Mohamed Elneny would all head off before the games against Wolves and Manchester City.
The Wolves game ended up being postponed anyway, but that still leaves a clash with the league leaders on January 1st.
It’s worth noting that Arsenal still need to come to an agreement with the respective national associations.
Although FIFA and CAF will allow Partey (for example) to stick around for the Manchester City game, the Ghana Football Association could still decide to call him up early.
Ghana play their first game on January 10th, so a January 3rd release would still give Partey a week of preparation time. But we’ll have to wait and see what they decide.
Pepe (Ivory Coast) and Elneny (Egypt) have also been involved for Arsenal over the last couple of games, so Mikel Arteta may want them around for the City match.
But it seems unlikely Arsenal bother with negotiating a late departure for Aubameyang to Gabon. The striker isn’t playing anyway, so he may as well start preparing for AFCON with his country.