The 2022 World Cup ends in December, which makes it the perfect opportunity for many Canadian players to put themselves in the shop window. While many players for Canada are playing at a good level already, there is a handful of players who know that if they in particular can impress, then a big career-changing offer might be on the table. As such, here are the five Canadian players who are most likely to get a big move off the back of an impressive World Cup this winter in Qatar.
Johnathan Osorio – Toronto FC (Impending Free Agent)
Perhaps the most pressing inclusion on this list, Johnathan Osorio has spent his entire professional career at this point at his hometown club, Toronto FC. But now as a thirty-year old free agent, Osorio has some business decisions to make, and a strong showing at the World Cup will certainly opened more doors for him if he is interested in playing in Europe.
Osorio is a central midfielder with an eye for goal with a scoring average of one goal in every five games for Toronto, and one goal in every seven for Canada, including a crucial equalising goal in the Azteca against Mexico in the 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign. He has the speed, vision and range of passing required to start for Canada in Qatar, and with the fitness of captain Atiba Hutchinson still in question, Osorio will be expecting to get game time for Canada in the World Cup. If he can put in a strong performance against some of the worlds best midfielders in Luca Modric and Kevin De Bruyne, then Osorio may have the pick of his choosing when it comes to where he plays his football in 2023.
Kamal Miller – Montreal
The first of three CF Montreal players on this list, which isn’t to say that Montreal is a team you should jump ship from, rather a testament to the Canadian talent on their roster. Kamal Miller is just twenty-five years old but is crucial component in Canada’s defence. The 2022 MLS All-Star was part of a Canada defence that gave up just seven goals in fourteen games in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, by far the best defensive record in the final round and a testament to how good of a partnership Miller developed along side fellow Canada centre back Steven Vitória.
Miller posses a strong presence in the air, great timing and understanding on when to go to ground, great recovery pace and even has the ability to be a ball playing centre back and play a crucial part in attacks. Miller will need to be at his absolute best against very dangerous forwards such as Hakim Ziyech, Romelu Lukaku and Ivan Perišić. If Miller can contain/sufficiently limit the impact of those forward players, then it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the defender involved in a big money transfer in the near future.
Ismaël Koné – Montreal
Perhaps the most anticipated player on this list in terms of a potential transfer, it actually seems all but inevitable that Koné will leave Montreal and MLS for a European move, the question is where? The twenty-year-old has played with the skill and poise of someone far behind his age and has gone from making his professional debut to being firmly established in the Canada squad in less than a year!
Koné is strong box to box midfielder who excels with the ball at his feet. For as good as Koné can be with picking out a key pass in attacking areas, he is also just as good at disrupting his opponents, and clubs in England have already noticed. Back in the summer, Koné was heavily linked with both Norwich City and Sheffield United of the English Championship. There is no doubt that clubs from that level will still be interested in him come January, and if Koné can get game time at the World Cup and look good, they will almost certainly be clubs playing at top European leagues interested in the young midlander.
S. 2 Ep. 21: Canada Doing What Canada Does – FC13 Podcast
Alistair Johnston – Montreal
The third and final member of the Montreal trio is right back Alistair Johnston, who in the last twelve months has seen his stock astronomically rise! Johnston moved to Montreal from Nashville back in December 2021, and in his first season for the Quebec side, he was a revelation on the right flank. Johnston made thirty-nine in 2022, scoring four goals, and four assists while applying Montreal with defensive solidity and plenty of attacking talent, particularly with his crossing ability.
Johnston has typically been given the starting right back role over Richie Lareya during the World Cup campaign, often looking like a solid defensive option out right and has even been deployed as a centre back when Canada has reverted to a back three. He’ll be up against some very tough opposition in Qatar, with Group F containing left wingers/fullbacks such as Eden Hazard, Ivan Perišić and Sofiane Boufal. While this may look intimidating, it’s the perfect opportunity for Johnston to rise to the occasion, and put himself in the shop window for European teams come January.
Jonathan David – Lille
Arguably the player most likely in the entire tournament to get a big move after the World Cup, it’s a surprise to some that Jonathan David is still at Lille – but that hasn’t slowed him down. David has scored nine goals in fourteen games in Ligue 1 this season, the most of any player not playing for PSG. At the age of just twenty-two, David has scored one hundred career goals in Europe and for Canada combined, and is one of the most in demand strikers in the world, constantly linked with moves to big clubs such as Arsenal, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
In either situation in which Canada start one or two strikers, David will be seen as Canada’s most likely player to score, and given the calibre of opponents in Group F, Canada will need someone as clinical as David to be on the end of any chances created. If he can score or even just lead the line well this World Cup, it’ll only make the race to sign David even tighter! David has scored at international level, French Ligue 1, Europa League and Champions League level, it’s just the next step up for David to deliver at the World Cup, and launch his career into the stratosphere!
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