“On deadline day we can announce the arrival of Red Devil Nacer Chadli. The 33-year-old left winger is on loan for one year by Basaksehir,” said Westerlo in an official communiqué. “Nacer also still has a chance to go to the World Cup in Qatar with our Red Devils. He will want to convince the national coach through our club to take him to the final group,” the Kemphanen said.
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Chadli’s move, who left the airport with three large suitcases, has been described as a stunt transfer. The 33-year-old from Liège thinks otherwise. “For me it’s just important to be able to play football again and Westerlo now gives me that opportunity. I am very grateful to the club for that.”
The presence of Jonas De Roeck played an important role in Chadli’s decision. “I still know him from my time at Anderlecht and have spoken with him for a long time. Together with the directors of the club, he convinced me of the great project of this club. The club has ambition and I think it is an interesting project to support. I will do my very best to push this club to the next level.”
And what about the World Cup? How much impact has that had? For Chadli, Qatar 2022 will probably be the last chance to play a major tournament. Although his last game for the national team dates back to the European Championship last summer, national coach Roberto Martinez has already indicated that Chadli is still on his A-list.
“For me the most important thing is to be match fit, play every weekend and find the fun again. If I can answer all those questions positively, then everything will be fine. I did not contact the national coach for my decision, but I know that he follows the Belgian league. The fact that I can play here is certainly not a bad thing.”
Debut against Anderlecht?
Chadli hopes to make his debut against Anderlecht on Sunday. “That would be very nice. At the start of the season I missed a few games due to injury, but I’m fit and ready to play my part. Although it will still be too early to play 90 minutes straight away. The club knows that, in our conversations I have been very honest about that.”
For Chadli it would be the very first match in Het Kuipje. “I played there once as a little boy, but I’m curious what it looks like now. Jonas has already shown me part of the infrastructure via video call. So I know where I will end up.”