First-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana helped Cameroon qualify for the AFCON finals on Tuesday night. He made his first appearance since since the winter World Cup in an important 3-0 victory over Burundi.
That has an impact on United, with the 47million signing set to be unavailable for club selection for around a month. The competition is being staged in the Ivory Coast, between January 13 and February 11 next year and Onana will not be the only United player selected.
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On-loan Fiorentina star Sofyan Amrabat and Academy graduate Hannibal Mejbri are in-line to represent Morocco and Tunisia respectively, while Amad Diallo will almost-certainly feature for the host nation. Between those dates, United are due to play four fixtures in the Premier League alone.
Tottenham (January 13), Wolves (January 30), West Ham (February 3) and Aston Villa (February 10) are firmly in the diary for Erik ten Hag and his squad. Beyond that, there are also two FA Cup dates pencilled in for January 6-7 and January 27-28 in rounds three and four.
The first date does not technically clash with AFCON, but players will likely be called upon by their respective national teams to prepare for the tournament. And there are still further games the United quartet could miss.
In the event that United make it through to the last-16 of the Champions League, the first leg could be played just 48 hours after the AFCON final, meaning players involved in that could miss those matches. Should the Reds reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals their AFCON representatives are certain to be absent for both legs.