By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that this season's Africa Cup of Nations had some influence on his transfer-market manoeuvres in the summer.
The Arsenal manager allowed Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to leave Emirates Stadium for Manchester City in the close season while his major summer signing was Thomas Vermaelen.
Replacing an Ivory Coast defender and a Togolese striker with a Belgian stopper could pay dividends in January when a swathe of African stars head to their home continent for the 2010 Cup of Nations. Chelsea will be hit particularly hard by the tournament but Arsenal should only lose two players - Alex Song of Cameroon and Toure's Ivorian team-mate, Emmanuel Eboue.
Wenger insists that the Africa Cup of Nations was not the "decisive" factor when he decided to sell Toure and Adebayor, but he is well aware of how the tournament can drain your resources.
"They play the Africa Cup of Nations every two years and I believe that when you have too many players who go in January, it is a big problem," said Wenger.
"It is always a concern because you have to plan for the season, and when you think you might lose four players or five players in January, it is a bit of a problem.
"You think about it, but it's not the main decisive factor [in letting Toure and Adebayor go]. But you think about it because in England in December you have a heavy schedule, then sometimes you pick up injuries, and then the players go to the Africa Cup of Nations, so you can sometimes be hit hard during this period."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source