Which Premier League side stands to benefit most from a summer AFCON?
With the news that the Africa Cup of Nations is set to be held in the summer from 2019, some Premier League clubs will be breathing a heavier sigh of relief than others.
Usually during an AFCON year clubs lose their best African footballers during January and February to the continental tournament, but now they’ll be able to hold on to them during the winter months.
But who is set to benefit the most from the changes? Data from the 2016/17 season suggests Leicester City will be the biggest beneficiaries in terms of minutes played by African footballers.
With seven African players earning 9,116 Premier League minutes for the Foxes last season, Leicester stand to benefit most in the PL.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) led the way with 2,837 minutes to his name during the 2016/17 season, with Daniel Amartey (Ghana), Onyinye Ndidi (Nigeria), Islam Slimani (Algeria), Yohan Benalouane (Tunisia), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria) and Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana) all playing too.
West Ham’s African players recorded 5,461 minutes of Premier League playing time last season, a distant second from Leicester, while Liverpool’s Joel Matip (Cameroon) and Sadio Mane (Senegal) played 4,702 league minutes between them, with Egypt’s Mohamed Salah arriving this summer.
Two teams, Burnley and newly promoted Huddersfield Town, registered zero minutes for African footballers last season.
And Tottenham managed to place eighth on the list with just one African player. Victor Wanyama’s (Kenya) 3,016 minutes of Premier League football were the only African minutes the north London side registered.