We’ve known for a while that four Arsenal players were likely to attend next month’s AFCON tournament, but Omar Rekik is set to make it five.
Tunisia have announced their squad list for the upcoming AFCON tournament, and Omar Rekik has made the cut for the event.
Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Nicolas Pepe are all expected to take part as well, for their respective countries.
This isn’t Rekik’s first call-up, and he’s already made his senior debut for Tunisia. But it’s certainly his biggest opportunity with the country so far, having only featured in friendly matches in the past.
There’s no doubt that this is a very positive thing for Rekik. He’ll have the chance to attend a major tournament, and you never know if he might even get some minutes on the pitch. There are some consequences to his absence worth considering, though.
The primary issue is that Rekik was touted for a loan move next month, which is going to be harder to push through whilst he’s away.
If Tunisia end up going far in the tournament, Rekik might spend the entirety of January away from England.
Ideally, Rekik would play at AFCON and also get a good loan for the rest of the season, so Arsenal need to think about how they can make that happen.
A more minor issue is that the Arsenal u23s don’t have many strong centre-back options right now. Without Rekik, they will be left light at the back.
U23 results aren’t very important, it’s just another thing to think about, and Arsenal may want to look to the youth market for a replacement. It doesn’t help player development when they’re forced out of position to cover for absent teammates.
So whilst a big congratulations is in order for Rekik, Arsenal need to make sure they cover for his absence.