Ghana will allow Thomas Partey to remain with Arsenal to face Manchester City on January 1st before leaving for AFCON.
Football Ghana report that Arsenal’s Thomas Partey is available to face Manchester City in January, before he joins up with Ghana for AFCON.
AP previously reported 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 left a clash with the league leaders on January 1st.
Although FIFA and CAF will allow Partey to stick around for the Manchester City game, the Ghana Football Association were still within their rights to decide to call him up early.
Ghana play their first AFCON game on January 10th, so a January 3rd release would still give Partey a week of preparation time. It appears they’ve decided that’s long enough to allow him to stay with Arsenal for City.
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. We don’t yet know if they will be.
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.