Mohamed Elneny set for lengthy Arsenal absence after Egyptian call-up

Published 17/12/16 

Mohamed Elneny looks set to miss an extended period after he was named in Egypt’s preliminary squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 24-year-old midfielder was among 11 overseas-based players called up by Egypt manager Hector Cuper in a preliminary group ahead of the tournament in Gabon, where the Pharaohs are among the dark horses for glory.

Elneny, who has 46 international caps, is expected to join up with the Egypt squad early in 2017 ahead of the start of the tournament on January 14 and would likely be unavailable to Arsene Wenger for at least four games, dependant on Arsenal’s progress in the FA Cup.

Were Egypt to make the Cup of Nations final, a feat they have managed on a record eight occasions, Elneny would be absent until February 5, leaving Arsenal’s midfield severely depleted with Santi Cazorla absent until March and Aaron Ramsey continuing to suffer hamstring and thigh injuries.

Wenger will hardly be the only manager struggling with absentees during January. West Ham boss Slaven Bilic could be without as many as four players should Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria), Andre Ayew (Ghana) Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho (both Senegal) receive call-ups.

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