After a breakout 2022 campaign, Ismael Kone became the latest talent from Major League Soccer to complete a move to Europe.
As reported by 90min, the 20-year-old midfielder - who was part of Canada's World Cup roster this winter - finally got his transfer to the English Championship with Watford after a previous move to Norwich City had broken down earlier in the year.
Kone joins the Hornets following an excellent debut professional season, scoring four goals and providing five assists in 32 appearances across all competitions for CF Montreal, earning his first eight senior caps for Canada.
The youngster arrives at Vicarage Road following multiple failed attempts to move to Europe in the past. However, in his first interview as a Watford player, Kone appreciated how much he still had to learn and showed gratitude to Montreal for providing the 'platform' to grow and, ultimately, realize his dream.
"I had come to Europe, I trialed in Belgium and it didn't work out for me," Kone said.
"There was some stuff I needed to learn, a couple of things I needed to realize and improve in my game for me to finally make the step. Luckily Montreal gave me the platform to do so. Now I'm here to grow, even more, to learn even more. I can't wait. Europe is big."
Watford's interest in Kone dates back to September, when Norwich, other Championship clubs, and even teams from across Europe's top five leagues were making contact.
A fee within the region of $8-10m will place plenty of pressure on Kone's shoulders - especially given it's a record outgoing transfer for CF Montreal - but the midfielder believes Watford will be worth the wait and is eager to get started in his new surroundings.
"It was a bit busy with my career, had some games going on. But I always knew it could be a good step for me, a good step in my career. This is why I'm here now," Kone said, adding: "The project was good, the idea was good, the football was good. Luckily it was a match."
Watch the story of Charlotte FC's journey to MLS in 90min's The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.
Source : 90min