‘We’re talking with them’: Ten Hag remains tight-lipped on three players’ availability for FA Cup tie
Erik ten Hag was unable to confirm whether he’ll have Manchester United’s departing Africa Cup of Nations players available for the club’s FA Cup tie on January 8.
Andre Onana and Sofyan Amrabat will depart Manchester for a brief period next month to represent their countries – Cameroon and Morocco respectively – at AFCON, which runs from January 13 until February 11.
Amad Diallo was omitted from Ivory Coast’s initial squad, with them being the host nation of the tournament, after their full list was announced on Thursday. This is likely because the 21-year-old has not featured at club level this season due to a long-term layoff with a knee injury.
Hannibal Mejbri will also not be partaking in AFCON with Tunisia; instead, he’ll be looking to complete a loan move to gain some regular game-time for the second half of the campaign. Olympique Lyonnais, Sevilla and Freiburg are all interested in acquiring the midfielder on a temporary basis.
Onana’s plea to Cameroon hierarchy
It was reported by ESPN that Onana had requested the Cameroonian FA to delay his meet-up with the team to ensure he’s available for United’s third-round FA Cup clash against Wigan Athletic. It would mean that the goalkeeper misses his national team’s warm-up camp in Saudi Arabia, as well as a friendly versus Zambia on January 9.
Onana is said to be conscious that he could lose his starting role when on international duty if Ten Hag is impressed with Altay Bayindir’s performances between the sticks.
When asked whether Saturday’s trip to face Nottingham Forest would be Onana’s last outing ahead of AFCON, Ten Hag told the press (as cited by ManUtd.com): “The situation is that we are talking, we have good relationships with all the federations. It’s about Sof [Amrabat], it’s about Hannibal, it’s about Andre. So, we’re talking with them.”
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