Forgotten man Essaid Belkalem admits his situation at Watford is “complicated” as he waits patiently until the summer transfer window opens to secure a move away from Vicarage Road.
The Algerian was left out of the revised squad submitted to the Premier League earlier this year and has not played a competitive senior game of football since May when he turned out for Trabzonspor on loan. Furthermore, he’s not played for the Hornets, who he initially joined on loan in August 2013, since the 3-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic in April 2014. Contracted to Watford until the summer of 2017, the 27-year-old has been told he is not in the plans of Quique Sanchez Flores, so much so that he was allowed to return to Algeria last month to further his coaching career.
“The situation is a bit complicated,” he said in an interview with Le Buteur. “I would even say that it’s a long story. Last summer, I returned from a loan from Trabzonspor, but the club had brought a new coach [Sanchez Flores], who does not know me and who took the decision not to count on me. The coach had his team in the head and thus put me on the list of departures. I have had contact from clubs in France and Spain, but we did not reach agreement.”
There was interest in the defender at the end of the summer window and in January.
“Actually, I wanted to leave but it was not that easy,” he said. “I wanted to join the Championship, but that was complicated because with a new loan my work permit here in England is no longer valid. I had to make do. You know, I lived worse. My injury in 2011 was a more difficult time. I try to stay strong regardless. You know, I made a big effort to get to Europe. This is not because of this little difficult time I cross that I will quickly give up and go back. Without an insult to the national championship, which allowed me to do this job, I do not plan to return for now. I want to continue to progress and I will have to remain patient.”
The downturn in the career of Belkalem is remarkable given how he performed for Algeria against Germany in the round of 16 tie at the last World Cup. Algeria lost 2-1, in extra time, to the eventual world champions who went on to stick seven past Brazil in the semi-final.
“Yes, he [national coach Christian Gourcuff] calls me from time to time for news,” he said. “There are also players with whom I am still in contact. It makes me feel good.”