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Report: MLS teams lining up for Altidore

JozyAltidoreSunderland1-HullCity2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Jozy Altidore’s desperate search for a new club could take him back to the USA.

Sources have confirmed to SBI that Altidore and his agent Lyle Yorks are in discussions with MLS over a possible return ahead of the 2015 season. Three teams have entered the Altidore sweepstakes: the Portland Timbers, Toronto FC, and his former club, the New York Red Bulls. ESPN’s Taylor Twellman first reported the development on Wednesday.

Altidore, 25, has started just twice in 11 English Premier League games this season, and it’s an open secret that he’s looking for a way out of Tyneside after a miserable 18 months with the club. Since joining in 2013, Altidore has managed to score just three goals in all competitions, and just one since last summer.

If Altidore returns to MLS, he would be the latest example of a key U.S. Men’s National Team player ditching Europe and returning to MLS, following in the footsteps of Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and more recently Jermaine Jones.

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What do you think of this news? Do you see Altidore returning to MLS this offseason? Which of the three teams do you think would be the best fit? Should he move to a different country instead?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Altidore and klijestan are not good enough to be DPs. This DP is becoming a joke. Let’s pay big money for an American because he’s played in Europe. What’s next, sign Oguchi Onyewu, Juan Agudelo, etc. as DPs?
    Everyone knows Obafemi Martins is better than Clint Dempsey and even played bigger teams during his time in Europe, but Dempsey makes more money because he is American. THIS HAS TO Stop.

    Reply
    • “Dempsey makes more money because he is American”

      Nonsense. Dempsey makes more money because:
      a) he’s more popular
      b) more teams wanted him
      c) he plays—and sometimes captains—the USMNT
      d) American fans have known his name for more than a decade

      And you know what? Justin Bieber earns more than both of them put together. It’s entertainment, not a shoe factory.

      Reply
  2. I really hope that TFC just passes on this guy.. its not that i dont think he is good enough.. its that TFC already has #9 in gilberto and they would play in the same space on the team .. IF TFC is going to spend big money it should be for a CAM ( #10) … anything else would be just poor management. Plus Altidore would have more value to a american team anyway

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  3. There are reasons to choose all three clubs, but I hope that if he comes, he lands at Toronto as a replacement for Dafoe. He’s not as good as Dafoe, but he will score goals and I would like to see Toronto do well. He seems like an odd fit at RBNY with BWP already there. As for Portland, I simply don’t want anyone I am inclined to root for playing for that team. It was hard watching Zakuani when he did get on the field.

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  4. Second rate player coming back to where he belongs, a third rate league.

    I know he is a target forward, bulky Number 9 type of player, but his first touch is beyond attrocious; and at 25 you either have the first touch or you don’t.

    Reply
    • His first touch is sometimes atrocious, sometimes sublime, and rarely in between. Strange player, maybe he has concentration issues.

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    • Pretty much. Guy was a massive failure…probably one of the worst strikers who received significant minutes in Premier League history. MLS will overpay for his services, and hell…I would cash in if I were him. Nothing wrong with going for the money with the only suckers willing to shell out dough for him.

      Reply
    • England comes in second to the US in its 2010 group; can’t advance out of its group in 2014, but at least its professional league isn’t third rate…

      Reply
    • He has never been successful as a target forward. He was successful at AZ bc he was given the ball in space facing 1 or 2 defenders. When he 1st arrived at Sunderland, he was making great runs and expecting through balls. The midfield looked at him and didn’t pass. Those runs have dried up with his confidence. I want Joy where he can play his kind of ball and score with confidence. More enjoyable to watch and better for the USMNT. If that is MLS, so be it. If all of the reported players come back to MLS, the league is better and I get to watch these guys more. Sorry JK, sitting on the bench of a CL team doesn’t make you better. Minutes and confidence matter more than QT with the 2nd string on the practice field.

      Reply
      • I think most of the time he played as a lone striker. Considering how bad the Sunderland midfield was and is, it’s almost impossible to score in that situation. How many other Sunderland players have scored much as lone strikers? I think when Wickham went on his tear at the end of last year it was mostly in a 2 striker formation. Now he has hardly done anything this year.

      • Yeah, I don’t know why people say he is target forward when he is CLEARLY not a target forward. Just because he is big and tall-ish (about 6’2″ 190), people lump him as a target forward. I don’t know if you remember Mark Viduka. He was a big guy who played for Leeds at the turn of the century. He was another big guy (about 6’2″ – 200lnbs), but he was not target forward. He always did better with another forward /winger interplay etc.

  5. As a striker I don’t think it’s a huge deal that he plays against worse competition. They need confidence, and if he can get goals by the truck load in MLS, I believe it’ll help the national team. Look at when he was in Holland. Also, you look at someone like Asamoah Gyan, who plays in the UAE, and gets absurd amounts of goals. He’s looked arguably better for Ghana against good competition than when he was playing for Sunderland (ironically enough). Why? My argument would be confidence.

    Reply
    • Interesting take.

      I do think confidence is incredibly important, but I also think the fact that Gyan was successful in England helps.

      I think I’d like to see Jozy give it a try in France or Germany, but there is definitely the possibility that it doesn’t go well.

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  6. He’s out of options, He failed in Spain and England…twice. Nobody else in Europe is going to pay him the money MLS is willing to throw at USNT players.
    Unless he’s willing to take the kind of money somebody at his talent level is supposed make he’s got no other option but to come home.

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  7. It’s so funny how everyone thinks Jozy has all these options, he doesn’t, no one in Europe wants him unless its at a drastic discount. He’ll be back in MLS making less than he does now, or he’ll stay and finish out his fat contract at Sunderland. Honestly I like the kid and I’d like to see him banging in goals in MLS.

    Reply
    • Lille wants him and that has been made clear. as per SBI and many others, he also has options in Germany. the truth is he will go on loan wherever he goes and will either have an option to be bought or play on loan until his contract is up.

      Reply
      • They’re bargain hunting and unless Sunderland add someone they will not be able to afford to let him leave on loan. They certainly would loan him till his contract is up, they would try and offload him to get some of the transfer fee back.

      • sure they should. they can knock off a large chunk of wages from their books. his contract is up in 2017 and if they did loan him until 2017, there would be no transfer fee. he’d be a free agent.

        i’m thinking you meant “wouldn’t” loan him his full contract (which is a safe bet, i was just pointing out the possibility if they found no one to buy). but it benefits them to loan him and hope he can prove himself useful. it’s a win-win-win all around.

        Jozy gets a new club to prove himself at. Sunderland dump a lot of his salary off their wage bill. and the new club gets a player on loan at a discount rate. then, if he does well, Sunderland still get a transfer fee to recoup some of the $13m they spent. i think Sunderland is smart enough to know the list of suitors willing to buy him without having a loan is basically non-existent. and MLS should be smart enough to not just throw money at Sunderland.

  8. Has anyone tried calling Thomas Rongen’s personal cell phone number from that Terrence Boyd twitter/instagram post? lol

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  9. You may rest assured that Jozy will lose his captain’s armband with the national team should he return to MLS. That’s just the way Der Klins-meister rolls….

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      • Jozy hasn’t reached his full potential. If he comes to MLS it’s open season on his position. The competition in the European environment gives him an advantage in the national team.

      • it would be much easier to make the argument that Jozy is long past his full potential. Being the only player of size and stature he is, gives him the advantage, at least that’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

      • Really? I know plenty that peaked in their teens. Off the top of my head players who peaked very early Shaun Wright-Phillips, Scot Sinclair I guess the most obvious would be Freddy Adu.

      • Sinclair hasn’t reached his peak, developmentally, as much as he is at too good a team (Man City) where the wingers are a class above. He can take a step down and play (and not stagnant). He will continue to get better, but I doubt that he will develop into the technical wing players that City have.

        SWP did ok on both stints at Man City, but the issue is he is not technical player to the degree of David Silva and Nasri and are both world class or borderline world class. He is also 33 yrs old now. and I remember SWP going at people past 25 and impressing me.

        Players get better, but different players have different ceilings. Jozy is not an EPL player, but there are several excellent players who are not EPL players, but do well in other leagues.

      • It’s always “open season” on his position but the problem is we don’t have anyone good enough to take it from him. Not at the moment anyway.

  10. Whatever you do, don’t go to red bulls and just go back to holland. I also can see a big rich mexican team paying 10 million for him, like America, Monterrey and even querretaro where camilo is.
    Where will he end up, MLS or ligaMX.

    Reply
  11. Altidore to the Galaxy or Sounders, MLS rules be damned.
    I’d have added RBNY to that list but looks like RBNY is more interested in cutting everyone and shopping at the dollar store.

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    • funny enough, if this turns out to be a loan for the remaining EPL season, that would mean $1.1m left to be paid to Jozy. maybe Sunderland will be desperate enough to agree to pay most of that with the MLS club only paying up to $387,000 of it. that would mean no DP. totally hypothetical and unrealistic, but possible.

      Reply
  12. really not a fan of this. it’s good he is exploring options but he needs to stay in Europe. especially if the options in France and Germany stay in place. i love MLS and while it would be cool to see him here again, from a USMNT view, i want hiim in Europe. and i certainly would prefer him in the Netherlands if that is the only place he can get playing time other than MLS.

    such a bittersweet thing if he came back.

    Reply
    • Why doesn’t he stay in europe where he’s had two good seasons in seven years? Those german and french options sound like sure things.

      Reply
      • so he goes to Villarreal as a teenager and doesn’t live up to the hype. then bounces around to some really crap teams and can’t get it together. then he ginally gets a move to AZ and has a stable environment and a coach who put him in check. what happens? he goes off.

        then he makes another EPL move to another bad team. the coach that brought him there ends up being fired and Sunderland, as a whole, becomes a total mess. how many goals have any of their strikers scored in the past 2 season? not enough.

        so thinking Jozy is incapable of finding a better situation and getting back to playing well is absolutely insane. the rumor about Lille has serious legs and would actually be a good fit for him. the German rumors are a bit more hazy, but there is no denying the Bundesliga would be a good fit for him.

        coming back to MLS at 24/25 is the easy way out and given that it sounds like he can find clubs in Europe willing to give him playing time, he should take it.

      • His european career has been a dumpster fire at all but one destination. You said the same thing you just gave more details.

        Could he land in an AZ sweet spot? Sure. But he’s more likely to find himself in another villa-xer-hull-saspor-land black hole.

        And yes, I get the irony of saying that while hoping he ends up at nyrb.

      • i gave his career some context as opposed to being sarcastic and leaving out context needed in order to have a real conversation about his career.

        i understand he COULD end up at another bad gig, and if he gets the feeling that is all that is out there, i’m fine with him coming home. but by all accounts, Lille would be a good fit. mid-table, need a goal scorer, and actually want him. that is a better place for his development than NYRB, Portland, or TFC.

        i guess we’ll see what happens.

    • Perhaps if it were an Ajax or PSV that would give him a chance to climb back up the ladder. However I don’t really see scoring goals in the Eredivisie as really meaning any more then doing it in MLS.

      Reply
      • i completely disagree and think too many MLS fans dismiss the Eredivisie way too quickly. which is funny because we hate when people dismiss MLS so easily. there is no debate though…the Eredivisie is still a higher level than MLS.

        and for the record, i believe it was PSV who had interest in him before moving to Sunderland.

      • No, that’s inaccurate. The Eredivisie is a lot like Scotland or Portugal…two or three teams that are much better than MLS, and a bunch more that are on par or worse.

      • no, Matt, it’s not. the Eredivisie is better than MLS as a whole. suggesting otherwise is simple bias. and i love MLS, so i’m not hating. but ask 10 journalists, scouts, players, etc. and 9 of them will say the same. even our own players have said this.

        and to compare the Eredivisie to Scotland is lazy. the SPL is a lower level. Portugal is probably about even and IS a better league than MLS too.

        we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      • Portugal is better then the Eredivisie just look at there coefficient. Portugal is at 59, while the Netherlands is now a 44. below the Ukraine and Russia.

      • i said “about”. nothing definitive there. i agree the Portuguese league is better than the Eredivisie and both of them are better than MLS. another comparison from SB Nation:

        Rating Points / League

        8493 Premier League/FA
        5164 Bundesliga
        4901 Serie A (Italy)
        4089 La Liga (Spain)
        2678 France
        2268 Russia
        2058 Turkey
        1601 Ukraine
        1526 Liga MX
        1500 Portugal
        1428 Netherlands
        1092 MLS

      • Scotland????
        Is this Stevie Nicol?
        Compared to MLS, Scotland has 1 or 0 good teams a couple on par and a bunch that are worse.

      • I’ll give you Eredivisie produce great players but the league is also generally young and inexperienced. Perhaps it’s more technical with better passing but the defending is no better then in MLS.

      • right, and god knows Jozy could use some more technical work. the pressure there is higher, especially at a UCL club. and while the defense is not world class, it’s certainly no worse than MLS. as a whole, it’s a better league.

        now, he if he is 27 and still there, maybe we start to question why. like you said, it’s great for younger players, which he still is, but at some point he would need to move again. either a better league or back home.

      • yeah, he’s certainly getting to the point. either way, i think he ends up in France. needs to chat with Bedoya and Davies (i’m sure he already has).

    • yep. 2014 was the worst year in awhile. I gotta admit I’m just not into soccer anymore. I knew Jozy would be next to come back to the MLS

      Reply
  13. Jozy clearly needs to get out of Sunderland, and I’d be shocked if another EPL team took him on, given his track record in the league, but what are his options in Europe?

    I thought I saw Ives mention he had some suitors in Germany, and I know Lille was linked a while back (not sure how concrete that was).

    Would his MLS salary be bigger than any in Europe?

    Reply
      • Question is, are Lille how he is bidding up MLS or the opposite.

        Jozy should be more concerned about fit than money. AZ was the best thing to happen to him.

    • “Would his MLS salary be bigger than any in Europe?” Despite his poor form, I’d wager to say yes, or it’ll be close. USMNT stalwarts are in high demand in MLS. I’ll bet Jozy will join the $3-4 million a year club if he comes back. He’s making £2.2 million at Sunderland. Would he get a raise going to a different European team? Probably not.

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      • Last I checked, he was making over $3million a year at Sunderland, so £2.2m sounds right. That being said, he would have to take a big hit to go to Werder Bremen or Lille (the two teams linked to him). Both leagues pay less and those teams pay on the lower end. I would assume he would get about $1-1.5 million a year.

        If he came to MLS, it would be for money. MLs would definitely pay him about $3mill/year or more. Additionally, those teams want a loan with an option to buy, and I gotta believe that MLS would want an outright purchase (and pay more) which is probably what Sunderland want.

        I am weary. I still think he can do well in a team/league that matches his style (wide open/supporting winger or forward interplay). I would like to see him end up Ligue 1 or some Bundesliga teams – which is what I said 1.5 years ago. Last time he and the team went for purely money, he ended up in Sunderland. Go for fit. If he wants money, doing well at Ligue 1 or Bundesliga would actually push up his value to MLS for a future move. The guys just turned 25 a month ago. If he wants to come back to the US, he can always do it at 28/29 after the next world cup and come back for bigger money if he does well in those leagues.

      • ah ok, i see $3.2M (Forbes) now. $2.2M was at AZ.

        yeah, without a doubt, if those teams bought him, he is taking a pay cut. that said, and as you mentioned, i’d bet good money on it being a loan. meaning he will still make the $3.2M he currently makes. since it would only be for 6 months, either team is looking at $1.6M if they were to fully take over for Sunderland…which never happens. so they will likely get a great deal. if he plays well, maybe they exercise the option to buy.

        i also believe his salary at Sunderland is post-tax and needs to be taken into consideration when comparing to a potential salary in MLS that is pre-tax.

        i would even say that MLS would take him on loan. Sunderland would obviously prefer a transfer, but it would be good business for MLS to say loan with option to buy. his current value is right around $4M according to transfermarkt (not sure how accurate that is). like with the other two clubs, a loan with an option to buy could help lower that fee. or at least delay it for a bit.

      • While he was still at AZ I was saying he should go to the Bundesliga. Like you I think he could be successful with the right situation. He needs to stay in Europe until the next WC.

      • We are of the same mind. People trashing his performance at 18-20yrs old at Villareal are being disingenuous. Not many (if any) 18/19 year olds break into a La Liga team that finishes 2nd (which Villareal did his first year). Manuel Pellegrini liked him enough to sign him. However, he left at the end of the season, and the next 2 coaches that were there didn’t like him. That being said, he still scored 3 goals in 17 appearances (not bad for a 18-20yr old who never started).

        He is not world class, but he is solid if given the right opportunity. This guy has accomplished more at 24 than any other pure striker/forward in the history of US soccer, ever. I said it then, and I will say it again, he does not belong in the EPL except for maybe Swansea, Southampton and Everton because of style and he is not good enough to make the bench at Arsenal or Man City. Now if Rubin end up being better in the next 3 years, sit Jozy.

    • He’s better than Bradley Wright-Phillips; I don’t think hardly anybody would argue this.

      So…when he goes and bangs in 20 goals next year for, say, Toronto FC, and then follows that up with a half-dozen goals for the Nats – against the monsters we’re likely to see, especially early in the year – are people going to still remind everybody he “failed” in Europe and as a result is second-rate? Especially when we run into the English NT in a friendly in a year or two and he gets a brace on them? Because that seems to be the way Jozy rolls.

      Confidence seems to be everything with this guy, and he seems to do very well where he’s valued and supported. Minus that, he seems to tank. I don’t see a whole lot of difference between his game when he’s in a hot phase and say, Lukaku’s – to me they’re basically identical – but that’s just one guy’s opinion.

      Reply
      • Nope.

        Almost identical size and body build, almost identical athleticism, similar speed. I think Altidore might have an even more wicked outside shot – people do not realize how hard this guy can hit the ball until he roofs it from 30 yards out.

        Altidore when he’s on is an entirely different animal than when he’s off. Keep in mind, this was the same guy who shrugged off and turned Carlos Pujols in the ’09 Conferedations Cup against Spain when he was all of 19, the same guy who got a brace against Germany and a hat trick against Bosnia in Bosnia. This is the same guy who broke scoreboards in the Dutch league.

        He didn’t just forget how to play. He just doesn’t seem to handle adversarial locker rooms and organizations very well. Dempsey is such a tough-minded get it didn’t seem to matter how many Fulham managers benched him as a first order of business, he just got madder and scored more goals…Altidore’s psyche seems to be a lot more fragile than that.

        But that’s mentality, not ability. IMHO Altidore is a bit of a hothouse flower who doesn’t transplant well and needs…a lot of love and attention. Dempsey assuredly is not. But Dempsey and Altidore are on a par, talentwise. Anybody who watches them play with the Nats together can tell you that.

      • That’s my take on Jozy as well. All the ability is there for an elite striker, but he lacks the ruthlessness. Or has, to this point. I’ve heard people wishing for Dempsey’s mindset in Donovan’s head, but could you imagine Dempsey’s attitude in Jozy’s body?

      • For what it’s worth, I like your assessment. However, it looks to me like Lukaku has a bit more speed while Altidore is a bit more physical, but they may be similar. A good point I hadn’t considered.

      • I might argue the Altidore vs. BWP thing. A confident BWP is better than the sulking, low self-esteem Altidore we’re seeing now. I think Jozy would be a great guy to have in MLS, but I wouldn’t trade BWP for him right now, except maybe for marketing purposes in the States. That’s just me.

      • I think it would be a good move for Altidore. He gets 3 strong years in MLS leading towards the World Cup and if then performs well, he can then make one last move back to Europe for bigger money if it all works out. He would be just 28/29 which is when many strikers hit their prime.

      • I think it would be A LOT harder to move back to Europe after coming back to MLS. At 28/29/30, I also don’t think the market will be there in Europe for a striker/forward. He has to take step down in league or go to a different style of play. Take a hit in pay. It will pay off later if he comes back to the US at 28/29 because MLS will pay more for a marketable player who succeeds in France/Germany. He comes back now, he is stuck in MLS for the next 8-10 years. He needs to take a chance and go to Lille/Verder Bremen. Don’t let Sunderland force you into a move that gets THEM the most money.

        McBride to Fulham was an exception at 30. People also forget that he did ok, but he did not light it up there either (33 EPL goals in 5 years or 6.5 per season). People also forgot McBride had a hard time in Europe before that. He only scored 2 goals in his previous 1 year stint in the Bundesliga 2 at 23 and 1 goal in the First Division (Championship) when he was 28. Shocking as it to some people Jozy has been a lot more prolific than McBride at the same age (in club and USMNT), and can get better.

        Put his previous performance in context. He went to the 3rd best team in Spain at 18. Who is going to play? How many 18/19/20 yr force their way into a top 3 La Liga team. Look around…not many. He is not Wayne Rooney or Torres at his peak or David Villa, but he can be solid in the right place. Hull was awful. Bursaspor actually wanted to keep him. He’s a player who needs time and space and supporting players. You do not get time in England and only a few teams use wing/forward interplay effectively.

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