Five Premier League teams give up on South America stars amid fixture standoff

Premier League clubs have given up hope of having their South American stars available for selection next weekend.

Despite quarantine exemptions being granted to double-jabbed Prem players returning from red-listed countries earlier this week, several clubs will still be left without key men upon their return to action.

That is because CONMEBOL nations are contesting three fixtures during the current break as they attempt to catch up on a Covid-affected schedule.

And, with the final round of fixtures taking place between Thursday evening and Friday morning UK time, the turnaround is tight.

The Brazil squad alone features nine Premier League players, with Liverpool’s Alisson and Fabinho among them.

That pair now look set to miss Saturday’s visit to Watford after The Reds’ pleas to authorities to move the game to Sunday fell on deaf ears.

The Premier League’s Samba Boys are set to miss out
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REUTERS)

Liverpool’s title rivals Manchester City are also set to be affected, with Ederson and Gabriel Jesus part of Tite’s squad.

Aston Villa, Manchester United and Tottenham, too, are facing similar headaches after providing players to multiple South American nations this week.

Edinson Cavani and Fred are in line to miss United’s clash with Leicester, while Villa are expected to face Midlands rivals Wolves without Emiliano Martinez and Douglas Luiz.

But it is Spurs who will be arguably hardest hit, having allowed Emerson Royal to join up with Brazil, both Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero to represent Argentina, and Davinson Sanchez to report for Colombia duty.

The north London club have attempted to lobby the relevant national FAs to allow their players to be released prior to their third and final game of the international break.

However, their appeals have thus far been rejected, leaving Nuno Espirito Santo to prepare for a visit to Newcastle on Sunday without four key players.

Giovanni Lo Celso in action for Argentina
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Getty Images)

The good news for managers is that this season’s remaining international breaks will each feature the customary two CONMEBOL qualifiers, which should ensure no further unnecessary absences for their South American contingent.

Those players will, though, be forced to do without the Premier League winter break for a second consecutive year after an impromptu round of international fixtures was scheduled to help clear the fixture backlog.

All 10 South American nations have games slated for January 27 and February 1 next year – a period that has been designated for English top-flight clubs to take time off.

The winter break was scrapped for all players last year due to fixture congestion resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

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