Leicester City is expected to have its Africa Cup of Nations players available for three more games before the tournament kicks off next month.
With Daniel Amartey and Papy Mendy named in the Ghana and Senegal squads respectively, and with Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, and maybe even Ademola Lookman due to represent Nigeria, no Premier League club is likely to have more players involved in the competition than City.
The timing of the tournament could potentially hamper Brendan Rodgers’ selection plans, with Ndidi currently filling in at centre-back amid a defensive injury crisis.
But despite initial suggestions players would be leaving at the end of December, City’s Afcon quintet due to be around for three more games yet, and the club will hope to have defenders fit again by the time they do link up with their national squads.
Asked how long he will have the five for, Rodgers said: “I believe up until early January, I think it’s til about the third, so they’ll be around for that time.”
That means, if fit, they will be able to play in both the games against Manchester City and Liverpool in the festive double header, and the New Year’s Day meeting with Norwich.
Mendy was not included in the Premier League squad, but with the registration period reopening alongside the January transfer window, he would be able to play on New Year’s Day.
The tournament begins on January 9 in Cameroon, and ends on February 6.
All of the City players involved are expected to go far, with the three countries they represent among the top-five favourites to lift the title, which is currently held by Algeria, who, captained by Riyad Mahrez, claimed the trophy in 2019.
If City players go all the way, they will miss the FA Cup third round tie with Watford, and the fourth round if Rodgers’ side progress, as well as Premier League games against Burnley and Brighton.
Depending on when they return, they may also be absent for the trip to Liverpool on February 10.