Currently I'm a master in statistics student in a European country and I'm planning to graduate in June 2021. During my master's thesis, I became interested in doing research and therefore, I have decided to pursue a PhD. I've already started looking for PhD vacancies at different universities but they all seem to look for someone who can start immediately. I've also made a list of potential supervisors and research groups that I want to contact, since sometimes not all available PhD positions are mentioned on the websites of the universities. My question now is: when should I start contacting potential supervisors? I'm afraid to contact them too early and that they haven't got time yet to look for funding or projects.
I'm mostly interested in doing a PhD in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or France.