By Dominic Toner
Tottenham will retain a full squad despite the Africa Cup of Nations starting in January.
Kenya’s Victor Wanyama was the only Spurs player at risk of being called away on international duty, however his nation’s failure to qualify for the group stages will come as a relief for Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs, Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea are the only Premier League sides who will not lose a player during the season, with several teams set to lose key stars.
The competition takes place in Gabon 14 January – 5 February 2017, and four rounds of Premier League fixtures are scheduled to take place during those dates.
Current PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez is almost certain to be named in Algeria’s squad and will be a colossal blow to reigning league champions Leicester. That’s not their only loss though, with Islam Slimani, Jeffrey Schlupp and Daniel Amartey all set to play too.
Liverpool will miss Sadio Mane and possibly Joel Matip, who play for Senegal and Cameroon. Early pacesetters Manchester United and Manchester City are set to lose a player each to the reigning AFCON champions Ivory Coast.
United’s new defender Eric Bailly has been a success since moving to Old Trafford this summer but will be unavailable if he is selected in his nation’s squad. Yaya Toure can be expected to be named in the Ivory Coast squad but he is currently fighting for a starting place under Pep Guardiola.
Elsewhere Arsenal are likely to lose Mohamed Elneny to Egypt but have sufficient cover in midfield. West Ham have bigger problems, with four players likely to head to ACON: Andre Ayew, Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate and Sofiane Feghouli.
Pochettino has built his Spurs squad around a core of young English talents and could have the opportunity to capitalise with a full squad at his disposal.
His youthful side challenged for the title last year before falling away at the crucial moment, but could have the opportunity to make a mark during January of this season.
In other Tottenham team news, Charlie Nicholas has given his verdict on the club’s upcoming league clash against Stoke.