While most clubs are going to miss some player or the other during the African Cup of Nations, the tournament will not affect the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea.
For Manchester City, although Yaya Toure is still contracted, he has not even made a bench appearance and Pep Guardiola has gone as far as leaving him out of the 21 man squad for Europe. So there is little chance that he would play for City before the transfer window, and even if he does, will definitely not have sufficient game time.
Toure — four-time winner of the African Footballer of the Year award — and his representative have made the decision to consider offers from Spain, Italy and France during the January transfer window to leave on a free when his contract expires at the end of June.
But he continues to be an influential player for Ivory Coast, having captained them to victory in AFCON 2015.
So while he will be representing Ivory Coast during the African Cup of Nations, his absence is not going to affect Manchester City in any way, who, with their packed midfield, are themselves spoilt for choice as to who to play.
An area of relief for City would be that Nigeria failed to qualify for the tournament which means that in form forward Kelechi Iheanacho will be available for them. The 19-year-old was clinical for City last season and his presence will be a major boost to the squad.
For Chelsea, no one is leaving Stamford Bridge during the AFCON. They have two Nigerians in the squad – John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses – but as mentioned, the Olympic bronze medalists did not qualify. That gives Chelsea some breathing space.
Mikel is in no way a fringe player and although starts would be hard to come by for him, especially with the squad Chelsea have built, the Blues have turned to him to solve their midfield issues on more than a few occasions. He has been one of their longest servants in recent times as well.
As for Moses, Conte certainly sees potential in him, and although he has not started a league game just yet, he is one for the future. He has scored a goal already and in general, his display and workload on the pitch has been noteworthy.