As Cheick Tiote waits to see if anybody will stump up ridiculous wages today to ease a move to the United Arab Emirates, Newcastle United’s four other African players have discovered their fate for January.
The transfer window closes in the UAE today, the only viable option still open for Cheick Tiote (other less likely transfer windows that are still open, listed below), whilst in Gabon the draw has been made for the finals of the African Cup of Nations.
The finals take place in Gabon between 14 January 2017 and 2 February 2017, so with Chancel Mbemba, Christian Atsu, Mohamed Diame and Achraf Lazaar all current internationals (unlike Tiote) they all look nailed on to be involved.
In the draw, from an NUFC point of view the most interesting part is that Chancel Mbemba and Achraf Lazaar have been drawn against each other in Group C.
Elsewhere, Diame and Senegal are in Group B, whilst Christian Atsu and Ghana feature in Group D.
The four players have had contrasting fortunes this season for Newcastle and impossible to predict at this point who will be the biggest miss, much of that potentially depending on injuries.
Just how long each player will be missing for Newcastle is also anybody’s guess. In the past, the likes of Ba, Tiote and Cisse have usually disappeared just after the turn of the year (before the third round of the FA Cup) for pre-tournament training camps, then of course much depends on how their countries perform.
2017 African Cup of Nations Groups
A: Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Burkina Faso
B: Senegal (Mohamed Diame), Algeria, Zimbabwe, Tunisia
C: DR Congo (Chancel Mbemba), Morocco (Achraf Lazaar), Ivory Coast, Togo
D: Ghana (Christian Atsu), Egypt, Mali, Uganda
Transfer window closures as listed by Transfermarkt:
United Arab Emirates Oct 20 2016 (Ends today)
Burkina Faso Oct 28 2016 (Open for 9 more days)
Liberia Oct 29 2016 (Open for 10 more days)
Mauritania Oct 31 2016 (Open for 12 more days)
Anguilla Oct 31 2016 (Open for 12 more days)