Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez could miss up to six Premier League games next season with the African Cup of Nations set to take place across January and February.
The tournament was originally scheduled to take place in June and July but has been moved due to what have been described as ‘unfavourable’ weather conditions in Cameroon at that time of year.
The scheduling change will come as a blow to a number of English clubs who have African players likely to be involved in the tournament and, understandably, the City fans are less than impressed by the announcement.
City Chief relayed the news to their followers on Twitter and to say many were disappointed could be putting it rather lightly.
Should the rescheduling of the AFCON be allowed at such short-notice?
I don’t get it, why move it?
— Jared Dudley’s Vertical (@caruso_stan) January 15, 2020
This is crazy
— Lehlohonolo Papo ? (@papomcfc) January 15, 2020
He is our most complete winger
— RM7 (@MahrezzSZN) January 14, 2020
mahrez will be a huge loss, this is crazy
— Manos de piedra (@Alavi_SSN) January 15, 2020
Some fans decided to look at it through a slightly more positive lense – pointing out that their rivals Liverpool will also be affected by the change.
At least Liverpool will lose Salah and Mane as well
— CITY (@KDB_Mcfc17) January 15, 2020
Yeah but Liverpool will lose Mane and Salah!
— Hayden Harrington (@h2harrington) January 15, 2020
What do we think?
Indeed, losing Mahrez for a possible six Premier League games could be a huge blow for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. Although it is impossible to foresee where the Cityzens will be in around 12 months time, it would not be hard to suggest that they would be challenging for the title and firmly in the race.
Of course, the Algerian star could have a pivotal role in helping the Sky Blues be in that position judging by the figures he has returned so far this season. In the 18 top-flight appearances he has had so far to date, the £54m-rated ace has provided seven goals and a further nine assists to his team-mates (all via TransferMarkt) – those contributions could be missed dearly.