Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has responded to his African players departing for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
According to Arteta, if he had his way, he could have prevented Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey and African colleagues Nicolas Pepe and Pierre Emerick Augbamayeng from participating in AFCON.
Partey is scheduled to leave England to join the team in Qatar to camp out for the pre-AFCON this weekend. However, Arteta and Partey are in negotiations to get the duration of his visit extended.
“Obviously, they want them yesterday and we want them [until] next month,” said Arteta when asked to clarify who will be leaving when. “That’s the conversation we’re having with them right now.”
He added: “If you give me the choice, I want them to stay. We’re going to need them with the context that we’re in.
“We need them all but I understand that they have their obligations and we have to let them go.
“If the regulators consider that the competition has to go ahead, we are obligated to let the players go.”
Arsenal will travel to Carrow Road on Sunday to play Norwich City.