Six players Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea must watch out for at AFCON

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The Africa Cup of Nations is due to kick off in Cameroon on Sunday with a host of top talent from around the globe set to battle over the next month in a bid to create history. A clutch of the Premier League’s leading stars, including the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy and Thomas Partey, have all taken a break from the domestic action to jet off with their countries.

The absence of those stars over the next few weeks could have a major impact on the Premier League title race.

But while some clubs will be hampered more than others, the AFCON also represents a fantastic opportunity for Premier League clubs to run the rule over some future transfer targets.

Express Sport takes a look at six AFCON stars who could end up as a transfer target for some of the Premier League’s big-hitters.

Franck Kessie

AC Milan star Franck Kessie has been linked with a move to the Premier League persistently over the past few months.

The Ivorian midfielder has been a standout player for Milan in Italy over the past few years and would fit the bill for a number of top English clubs who could be looking to bolster their midfield in the near future.

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Kessie is also inside the final few months of his current deal at the San Siro – meaning he’s free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from New Years Day.

Given his contract situation, it makes sense for a host of Premier League clubs to keep a keen eye on Kessie over the next month.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Napoli powerhouse Kalidou Koulibaly is another player likely to be of interest to Premier League clubs when the AFCON kicks off.

The 30-year-old Senegalese defender is now in the final 18 months of his contract at Napoli – who could be open to cashing in on their lynchpin if the price is right.

Koulibaly has been linked with a move to England before, and it would make sense for Chelsea to keep an eye on the centre half given the uncertainty over Antonio Rudiger.

The German defender is still yet to decide on his long-term future, which could leave the Blues with a huge gap to fill in a few months’ time. A move for Koulibaly would fit the bill if Rudiger does elect to bid farewell to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

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Amadou Haidara

Amadou Haidara’s name has already been touted as a potential solution to Manchester United’s midfield woes in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old has been one of RB Leipzig’s standout stars in the Bundesliga this season, registering two goals in 13 league appearances.

Haidara, who is set to star for Mali in the month-long tournament, could emerge as a potential left-field option for United to pursue in the summer.

Considering United are expected to keep their powder dry until the end of the season, Haidara could play his away ahead of the likes of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips on Manchester United’s transfer wishlist with a strong showing on the international stage over the next few weeks.

Samuel Chukwueze

Villareal’s exciting 22-year-old winger Samuel Chukwueze could catch the eye of Premier League club’s over the next month.

Chukwueze, who progressed through the La Liga’s sides academy, has already notched five goals in 16 appearances this term and has been on the agenda for English clubs before.

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Both Manchester United and Liverpool were credited with an interest in the tricky forward last year – although that interest has seemingly cooled now.

But given the uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mane right now, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Reds’ interest was reignited if Chukwueze dazzles for Nigeria in Cameroon.

Arsenal could also take note given they look set for an attacking overhaul in the summer with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang out of favour and uncertainty surrounding Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.

Aguibou Camara

Guinea starlet Aguibou Camara has been linked with a move to Liverpool in recent weeks after starring for Olympiacos this season.

Camara has bagged four goals and registered four assists in just 14 appearances for the Greek giants following his transfer from Ligue 1 champions Lille last summer.

Unsurprisingly, that form has alerted a host of European heavyweights.

Recent reports have even indicated that Camara could be available for as little as £4million – meaning he isn’t likely to be short on suitors if he has a good tournament over the next few weeks.

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