Ange Postecoglou is aware that before to Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League match against Brighton, at least one of his currently absent international stars will return to the team.
The Spurs manager has been without captain Son Heung-min, who is competing for South Korea in the Asian Cup, and Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr, who are representing Senegal and Mali, respectively, in the Africa Cup of Nations, since the beginning of this month.
Tuesday’s Asian Cup round of 16 match pits Son’s South Korea against Saudi Arabia. Jurgen Klinsmann’s team came in second in Group E with two losses and one victory. Group F was won by their Saudi opponents, who had two wins and one draw.
Regardless of whether Tottenham wins their upcoming game in the competition, Postecoglou knows he will have at least one of Bissouma or Sarr available for selection back at Spurs soon thanks to a convenient quirk of the Africa Cup of Nations draw.
In the round of 16, Sarr and Senegal will play the hosts, Ivory Coast, on Monday, while Bissouma’s Mali will play Burkina Faso on Tuesday. On Saturday, February 3, Mali and Senegal would play in the quarterfinals if both teams win their round of 16 matches.
Therefore, following that match—which takes place on the same day that Spurs go to Everton in the Premier League—whichever of the two midfield players ends up on the losing side will be returning home. The current Africa Cup of Nations champions, Senegal, would seem to be the favorites on paper because they have won all three of their group stage games, while Mali has advanced with one victory and two draws. In any case, both must first defeat their opponents from the round of 16.
On February 10, Spurs play Brighton in the Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Whoever returns from the competition in the Ivory Coast may be eligible to play.
The north London team, who lost to holders Manchester City on Friday night in the FA Cup, now have a strong run of league games ahead of them. Four of their next five games will take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while the match against Chelsea will be rescheduled due to Mauricio Pochettino’s team’s participation in the Carabao Cup final.