Newcastle United could be forced to tackle their busy festive period without South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who is likely to be called up for international duty in the near future.
With the Asian Cup tournament set to begin in early 2019, the South Korean Football Association can opt to call Ki up for duty up to 15 days before the start of the tournament. He will already miss several matches in January, but could miss as many as three further matches for the Magpies.
According to The Newcastle Chronicle, Ki has discussed the possibility of a late arrival to the tournament with South Korea manager Paulo Bento, but he may not be granted his request as the South Korean FA have already allowed Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Son Heung-min to miss their first two group matches in January.
The international side's first match of the Asian Cup is against the Philippines on 7 January, with the group stage ending nine days later.
However, South Korea are widely expected to be one of the stronger sides in the tournament and, should they reach the final of the cup, could be in action until February.
As a result, Ki will certainly miss Newcastle's matches with Manchester United and Chelsea, and could miss clashes with Cardiff City, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur if South Korea enjoy a deep run in the tournament.
Ki spent the early weeks of this season as a reserve option for Rafa Benitez, but has recently emerged as a key player for the team.
He was instrumental in guiding the Magpies to their first victory of the season - a 1-0 victory over Watford in early November - and he has retained his place in the side ever since.
Source : 90min