Lost in the commotion surrounding the European transfer of Eddie Johnson and the failed transfer move by Brad Guzan was a transfer bid that stayed under the radar and nearly became the biggest story of the MLS off-season.
Red Bulls and U.S. national team forward Jozy Altidore almost transferred to English club Reading. The bid was one of the best kept secrets secrets of January and Altidore came close to joining fellow Americans Marcus Hahnemann and Bobby Convey at the club.
"I’ve heard a lot about the club and it was an up and coming club that was interested in me," Altidore said. "It looked like it was something that was going to be a good idea for me but the Red Bulls are where I’m going to be.
"This is where my home is going to be right now," Altidore said. "I’m committed to the team and I’m not even worried about what happened."
According to sources, Reading had been scouting Altidore for more than two years and made a serious bid, which Altidore was strongly considering. Reading’s inability to sell one of it’s players during the transfer window may have caused the potential deal to fall apart.
Currently in 17th place in the English Premier League, one point out of the relegation zone, Reading had targeted Altidore to help the club’s struggling offense, which has been shut out in four straight matches. Reading is currently on a nine-match winless streak (0-8-1).
So why did Altidore consider Reading? The chance to play right away in the English Premier League, as opposed to going to a bigger club and not playing much, was appealing, as well as the fact that Reading had been following Altidore closely for years.
Altidore is expected to be a major transfer target again this summer (He also received serious interest from Real Madrid this winter) but the chances of a Reading deal appear remote.
"It was a whole process and it just didn’t work out,’ Altidore said of his talks with Reading. "I’m still happy to be with New York because I’ve watched this team since I was growing up.
"This is the team I wanted to play for in the beginning and the team I’m playing for now and I wouldn’t have it any other way."