Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta disclosed that the club will find the ‘right replacements’ for the players who will not be available because of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ghana’s Thomas Partey, Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny and Ivory Coast’s Nicolas Pepe are the players the Gunners might release for the continental showpiece that will be held between January and February 2022.
Gabon and Ghana are pitched in Group C with Morocco and Comoros while Egypt have Nigeria, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau to battle in Group D.
Ivory Coast are in Group E with Algeria, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.
When asked about the potential absences of the players during a press conference on Thursday, Arteta said: “Let’s see where we are at that point, which players we have available and which players definitely have to be there and for how long, because there are some question marks there as well.
“We will find a solution. If they have to leave, they have to leave. We’ll have to find the right replacements for them.”
Arsenal will resume Premier League action on Monday with a fixture against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace but Arteta is unsure of Partey’s chances of featuring in the match.
The 28-year-old scored a goal in each of Ghana’s last two outings against Zimbabwe in their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
“Well, let’s see,” Arteta replied when quizzed about Partey’s availability for the game. “We haven’t had the players here yet. Some of them because they’re still travelling and they’ve not been assessed by the medical staff, but hopefully.
“He finished both games really well. He played well and scored a couple of goals like many other players did in this international break, and hopefully, everybody is in the right condition on Monday to help us win the game.”