As is often the case, Michy Batshuayi had a nice time with the Belgium national team during the international break, even though he didn’t get to play in their 9-0 trouncing of poor San Marino. He did start their Euro 2020 qualifier against Kazakhstan (although with Belgium’s qualification already assured), and he opened the scoring in the 2-0 victory with a nice run in the box to finish a solid move from the Red Devils.
Back at Chelsea however, his playing time remains even more limited. Batshuayi’s firmly behind free-scoring Tammy Abraham and vying with Olivier Giroud for backup minutes. That situation doesn’t sit well with either player, nor their national team coaches, with Belgium boss Roberto Martinez joining France boss Didier Deschamps in a warning about lack of minutes at club level.
If fact, Martinez has gone as far as to suggest that if things don’t change, Michy should be looking for a new “solution” — i.e. a loan or a transfer in January ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
“[Batshuayi] doesn’t play enough at Chelsea. I think that’s a shame, even though he scores a lot with the national team. I hope he will play more, because we really need him … but then he has to play. Otherwise a solution must be found.”
-Roberto Martínez; source: Het Nieuwsblad via Sport Witness
Batshuayi had spent half-seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace in the past two years — precisely because of a similar conundrum ahead of the 2018 World Cup — with varying degrees of success.
But letting Michy leave in January would likely put Chelsea in a difficult situation, with only two strikers available for Frank Lampard in a season where we have suffered a lot with injuries. There’s no guarantee that Abraham keeps up his stellar form either, and he’s bound to suffer dips in form. As both Lampard and Giroud have elucidated, we need our backups to be ready to push each other and step in when needed.
That said, perhaps Batshuayi, who has only gotten 45 minutes in the Premier League thus far, will push for a move. But that should be the decision of the player and the club; not his national team head coach.