Jozy Altidore’s agent made waves on Wednesday with his claim that clubs from all over Europe were in London over the international break to watch his client score in the USMNT’s 2-1 loss to Colombia.
Lyle Yorks told MLSSoccer.com that the 25-year-old New Jersey native and Sunderland striker had several French, Italian and German clubs at Craven Cottage to monitor his situation.
The big striker has struggled to get playing time and goals at Sunderland, with just three goals in 47 appearances despite a strong record for the United States that includes goals against strong national teams.
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But where would Altidore fit best? He’s been linked with Lille, and there have been several MLS rumors as well. He’s gone on record as saying he’ll leave Sunderland if his playing time doesn’t change, and so far it hasn’t.
Yorks doesn’t name three of the five biggest leagues in Europe if Altidore is seriously considering a move to Major League Soccer or back to his old stomping grounds in the Eredivisie, so let’s assume he’s leaving England but staying in a big league. Altidore’s past includes unproductive stints at Villarreal and Hull City, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find his footing in a top league.
Let’s speculate on one destination in each league for Altidore:
Let’s say it’s not Lille. The recent two-time USMNT captain could do well for himself in France, and it would be interesting for both fans and Jurgen Klinsmann if he were to link up with teammate Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes. The fourth-place Ligue 1 side has scored just 13 goals in league play and has been buoyed by its stingy defensive efforts. Their only player with more than two goals in young French midfielder Jordan Veretout.
Just three American players — not counting dual nationals like Giuseppe Rossi — have plied their trade in Serie A, with Michael Bradley and Alexi Lalas the only ones to turn the trick since World War II. Among the teams struggling for goals but with the resources to bring in Altidore is Fiorentina, who will be without Rossi for a bit longer due to the latest in a long line of knee problems. La Viola could use the depth given their advancement in the Europa League.
Right off the bat we’ll be tempted to follow our own logic and link him up with fellow Americans, so let’s get that out of the way: Eintracht Frankfurt (Timmy Chandler), Hertha Berlin (John Anthony Brooks) and Borussia Monchengladbach (Fabian Johnson) all house regular USMNT members, while Julian Green is on loan at Hamburger SV. Longtime Yank back Steve Cherundolo is a legend and still involved at Hannover 96, which also could be a landing spot for Altidore and would be our pick. But with Jurgen Klinsmann’s contacts and influence, really anywhere short of Bayern Munich wouldn’t be a surprise (and that includes current strugglers and UEFA powers Borussia Dortmund).