African Cup: Bennacer, Dia, Osimhen. Here’s who leaves and who stays

In Serie A, the fight for survival will above all be affected. Inter and Juve will not lose anyone

Matteo Pierelli

Just over a month and it will be the African Cup of Nations. A sort of nightmare or almost for many European teams who will see some of the best players leave for about a month. The rich Premier League is suffering (among others the Egyptian Salah and the Cameroonian Andre Onana are on the list) as is the Serie A, which in recent years has seen an increase in departures when the time comes for the most important tournament on the continent.

This time it will be played in Ivory Coast from 13 January to 11 February 2024. Initially, the event was supposed to take place between June and July, precisely to avoid overlaps with the commitments of European clubs, but concerns about the weather conditions in Ivory Coast ‘Ivory during our summer led to the move forward. Which will have serious effects on our championship. Considering that the players will normally have to respond to the summons a week in advance (except for ad personam agreements), it means that from 6 January (19th matchday) they will be unavailable. And, in the worst case scenario, i.e. for those who reach the final, they will be absent until the weekend of 10-11 February (24th matchday), for a total of six days. Without considering that any celebrations can prolong the period of absence.

Inter and Juve at zero

There are around fifty players eligible for call-up in Serie A, a number which can vary given that some are undecided about their future in the national team. One thing is certain: none of the top two in the rankings will be shaken. Both Inter and Juve will not send players and will be able to draw fully from their squad. Even Lazio will not see anyone leave, even if the blue and whites will have to send the Japanese Kamada to the Asian Cup (from 12 January to 10 February in Qatar). Among the top-ranking teams, Milan risks seeing Algerian Ismail Bennacer leave after waiting for him for almost seven months: he seriously injured his knee in the first leg of the Champions League derby in May and returned against Frosinone last Saturday , when he took over from Reijnders. Pioli could thus lose him once the running-in has been completed, even if Isma himself is not yet sure what will happen: “I still don’t know what I will do when the Africa Cup of Nations comes around – he said -. First of all I want to find the rhythm again, then we’ll see if I’m ready. If I’m not, the Algeria coach will make his assessments, but maybe it’s better to take someone who is 100%…”.

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 02: Ismael Bennacer of AC Milan in action the Serie A TIM match between AC Milan and Frosinone Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 02, 2023 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/AC Milan via Getty Images)

go away

The Rossoneri, however, will be without the Nigerian Chukwueze who took part in all the qualifying matches. Napoli are no better off, dealing with the departures of two key players such as the Nigerian Victor Osimhen and the Cameroonian Franck Zambo Anguissa: who knows how Aurelio De Laurentiis will react, who in the past has thundered several times against the Africa Cup of Nations, promising that he will not would have taken more players from that continent… Fiorentina are not in very good shape (Nzola and Kouamé, Duncan has left the national team unless he has second thoughts), while Torino should only say goodbye to Demba Seck, who is part of the Senegalese national team, among those who can be called up. . Roma will also not suffer any particular shocks given that only N’Dicka and Aouar are expected to leave, while Atalanta will be without Lookman (El Bilal Touré is injured and will return in January).

Photo Marco Bucco/LaPresse 03 December 2023 - Florence, Italy Sport, Football Fiorentina vs Salernitana - Italian football championship Serie A TIM 2023/2024 - Artemio Franchi Stadium.  In the photo: Boulaye Dia tackled by Arthur Melo and Lucas Martinez Fourth Photo Marco Bucco/LaPresse December 03, 2023 - Florence, Italy Sport, Soccer Fiorentina vs Salernitana - Italian Serie A Football Championship 2023/2024 - Artemio Franchi Stadium.  In the photo: Boulaye Dia challenges Arthur Melo and Lucas Martinez Quarta

every man for himself

The Africa Cup of Nations will have a major impact on the fight for survival. Among the most penalized, on paper, Salernitana will be deprived of the Senegalese Boulayé Dia who, among other things, lifted the trophy in 2021 in Cameroon after the final on penalties with Egypt. But Pippo Inzaghi’s team will almost certainly also have to give up the Malian Lassana Coulibaly and the Cape Verdean Jovane Cabral. Empoli could also do without 4 players, one more than Cagliari. While Verona will not have Hongla and Folorunsho: whoever manages the emergency better will have taken an important step towards safety.