West Ham are set to lose four players for up to five games at AFCON and three of them are absolutely key stars.

West Ham have a strong African influence in their team and it was enhanced further by the signing of brilliant Ghana star Mohammed Kudus last month.

Kudus was one of four new arrivals in the summer transfer window and could be followed at the London Stadium by free agent Jesse Lingard.

The Hammers may well need him too, particularly over the winter. The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) was switched from June just gone to January 2024, six months later than scheduled.

West Ham United Training Session
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Ivory Coast remain hosts but concerns over the weather in west Africa in mid-June dictated the change.

And that could have a big impact on West Ham’s squad for around five to six weeks between January and February.

Because West Ham are to lose four players for up to five games at AFCON and three of them are absolutely key stars.

Obviously this is all injury and selection permitting.

West Ham United v Southampton FC - Premier League
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West Ham to lose 4 players for up to 5 games at AFCON and 3 of them are absolutely key stars

But clubs are usually required to release players participating in AFCON at least a week prior to the tournament starting on January 13th.

And the tournament does not finish until five weeks later on February 11th.

Most players involved are also given a few days rest after their involvement before returning to club duty – although that will be between West Ham boss David Moyes and his players to agree upon.

It means West Ham will likely be without three absolutely key stars Kudus, Said Benrahma and Nayef Aguerd as well as Maxwel Cornet for games against Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Manchester United, Arsenal and possibly Nottingham Forest depending on how far they go and how much – if any – leave they are given afterwards.

Dagenham & Redbridge v West Ham United - Pre-Season Friendly
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Ivory Coast have already qualified which means Cornet will be involved.

Algeria have already qualified too meaning Benrahma will be away.

So too have Morocco, for whom defender Aguerd is a key player.

And Ghana are top of their group and hot favourites to win their final game against Central African Republic on Thursday night. That will mean new £38m man Kudus will be away as well.

So it seems signing Lingard is looking increasingly like a no-brainer for West Ham – even if it is purely for cover over the busy winter period against the backdrop of these likely AFCON absences.


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