Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has warned his players that being away from their current clubs in the middle of the year could jeopardize their chances of participating in the World Cup.
Martinez said that the timing of the tournament in Qatar in November and December leaves many unknowns to the coaches in their planning and the players can perform better without changing the club in the next summer transfer period.
“Be careful that in this period, do not take a step that could lead to a setback in your career,” the Spanish coach said in a warning to his players on Wednesday when he called up 32 players for four matches in the European Nations League next month. Because this is a very special time in any player’s career. We will play the World Cup in the (European) winter and we don’t have any prior information to know how that affects the players and how the summer break could affect the national team. What I’m trying to say is that when you change your club, it brings uncertainty. Sometimes you need to adapt to a new language, a new culture and a new way of playing, and this sometimes needs a period of stability.
Adaptation may take between three and six months, Martinez said. He added: We are only 16 weeks away from the World Cup. This is an aspect that must be taken into consideration. Perhaps the best transfer window for next season is in January after the World Cup.
There are no major transfers between Belgium’s top players although Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea) and Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) may leave their clubs after disappointing seasons.
Club Brugge’s young striker Charles de Kettler has been linked with a possible move to the Premier League.
Top-ranked Belgium, who reached the semi-finals of the last World Cup in Russia, will meet Canada, Morocco and Croatia in Group F at the World Cup in November and December.