Transfer Tracker

Official: CF Montréal transfer Ismaël Koné to Watford FC



UPDATE (Dec. 5, 1:00 pm ET) – CF Montréal have transferred midfielder Ismaël Koné to English second-division side Watford FC, the club announced Monday.

The move becomes official on Jan. 1 and follows Montréal sending both defender Alistair Johnston (to Celtic) and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (to AZ Alkmaar) to European clubs for the winter.

“We are very happy for Ismaël. Both his evolution as a player and the outcome of this transfer have been very fast,” VP and chief sporting officer Olivier Renard said in a release.

“The club has helped him grow as a player, but also as an individual, and I am proud of his progression. When the talent is there, it is not a question of age or experience. He made his choice from among several options available to him. Ismaël is certainly a great example for young Montrealers and Quebecers.”

Kone spent one full season with Montréal and just represented Canada at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He’s only 20 years old.

“I want to thank the club for everything it has done for me,” said Koné. “I grew as a player, but also off the field. I had a lot to learn, but the people here helped me develop. I'm grateful because I had the opportunity to begin my career at home.”

ORIGINAL (Dec. 5, 9:30 am ET) – CF Montréal are on the verge of transferring midfielder Ismaël Koné to Championship side Watford FC in a club-record deal, according to a report from Fabrizio Romano.

The 20-year-old was linked to other English second-division teams over the summer, but deals with Sheffield United and Norwich City both reportedly fell through.

An additional report from Gianluca Di Marzio notes Koné could move to Serie A side Udinese next summer. Watford and Udinese are both owned by the Pozzo family.

Watford have bounced between the Premier League and Championship in recent years, while Udinese are consistently mid-table in Italy.

Koné's rise

Koné shot from near obscurity to league sensation during the 2022 season, tallying 2g/5a output in 26 games (18 starts) as Montréal became the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

That rise put Koné on Canada’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad, and he’s scored one goal in eight appearances since debuting for Les Rouges in March.

Montréal changes

Now, Koné would be the latest key player to leave Montréal.

This weekend, defender and fellow Canadian international Alistair Johnston finalized a transfer to Scottish Premier League powerhouse Celtic FC. Earlier this year, playmaker Djordje Mihailovic sealed a move to Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar that goes into effect in January. And veteran midfielder Victor Wanyama – Montréal's only Designated Player – is currently out of contract.

Even manager Wilfried Nancy, a 2022 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year finalist, could be on the way out. He's reportedly close to filling the Columbus Crew’s coaching vacancy left by Caleb Porter.

The 2023 MLS campaign starts on Feb. 25. With players leaving, Montréal could be extremely busy with incoming deals.