Major League Soccer’s third all-time leading scorer is on the move just before the 2023 campaign, with Chicago Fire FC announcing Friday they’ve acquired striker Kei Kamara in a trade with CF Montréal.
To land the 38-year-old, Chicago are sending Montréal $250,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) split evenly across two seasons. Montréal could also receive an additional $150k in conditional GAM (performance-based incentives) from Chicago. Kamara’s contract with the Fire will run through the 2023 season.
The 16-year MLS veteran had publicly requested a trade away from Montréal, and now he’ll play for his 10th MLS club. Kamara has 139 goals and 54 assists across 391 regular-season matches, trailing only Landon Donovan (145 goals) and Chris Wondolowski (171 goals) in the league record books.
“We are excited to welcome Kei Kamara to the Fire,” Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz said in a release. “Kei has shown throughout his career that he can consistently produce goals in MLS, including this past season with CF Montréal.
“Not only will he help to make us more dangerous in the attacking third, but he will bring experience and leadership to the squad. Kei will be an important addition to the team as we continue to build the squad for the 2023 season.”
Kamara was Montréal’s second-leading scorer in 2022, posting 9g/7a as they achieved their best-ever MLS season (65 points; second place in Eastern Conference). Now, Kamara joins the list of key outgoing pieces after defender Alistair Johnston, midfielder Ismaël Koné and attacker Djordje Mihailovic were all transferred abroad.
Montréal’s top returning scorer is Honduran striker Romell Quioto, who had 15g/6a last year. The Canadian club are entering their first season under head coach Hernan Losada after Wilfried Nancy left in the offseason to lead the Columbus Crew.
“The club thanks Kei for his on-field contributions last season,” Montréal VP and chief sporting officer Olivier Renard said in a release. “The club’s wish was not only to have him for the 2023 season, but to offer him a multi-year project.
“We wanted him to be happy and to settle in Montreal with his family. We ultimately found an agreement for a trade. We wish him the best of luck in the next chapter of his career.”
Kamara should supplement a No. 9 group in Chicago that’s currently led by Kacper Przybyłko, who was acquired before last season from the Philadelphia Union. Crucially, they’ll be leaned upon after Colombian youngster Jhon Durán was transferred last month to English Premier League side Aston Villa for up to $22 million (second-biggest fee in MLS history).
Chicago, according to MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert, are still in the market for a Designated Player forward and U22 Initiative attacker.