Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has warned his players that a move 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 for coaches in their planning and players can perform better without changing the club in the next summer transfer window.
“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, today, Wednesday, when he called up 32 players to participate in 4 matches in the European Nations League next month.
“Because this is a very special time in a 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,” Martinez added.
“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, a new way of playing, and that sometimes needs a period of stability.”
Martinez said it could take anywhere between 3 and 6 months to adjust. He explained, “We are only 16 weeks away from the World Cup. This is an aspect that must be taken into account. Perhaps the best transfer period 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.