Football.com - everything football

Jozy Altidore: English Premier League rumors continue but is he ready to return?

by Thomas Atzenhoffer
Jun 26, 2013 2:39 AM EDT



Jozy Altidore burst onto the scene with Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls during the 2006 season when he scored four goals in nine appearances. Then in 2007 he again continued to dazzle the crowds as the then 17-year-old scored nine goals in 24 appearances.

The young American striker looked set for another great season with the Red Bulls in 2008 but only eight appearances and three goals into the season he was purchased by La Liga side Villarreal for £7 million and he looked to have made the best move of his career.

However,  it was a hard road for the young striker as he quickly learned that he had a long road to the top. He would make six appearances scoring one goal for the club before spending most of the 2008-09 season on loan to Xerez never making a first team showing.

He was loaned out again in 2009-10 to Hull City during their last stint in the English Premier League, but his 30 appearances only saw two goals hit the back of the net and his scoring form continued to be horrid since his move to Europe.

Villarreal again gave him a chance with the first team in 2010-11 where he made eleven showings scoring two goals before being sent to Turkey on loan with Bursaspor where he made another eleven further appearances scoring only once.

Finally in 2011 he was purchased by Dutch Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar. For the first time in his career Altidore hit double digit marks with 20 goals in 52 appearances for the Dutch side. His form continued this past season as 2012-13 saw him hit his stride with 31 goals in 41 appearances for Alkmaar and it looks as though he once again is making waves in the transfer market.

According to the Shields Gazzette, the 23-year-old is the highly sought after target of Sunderland and manager Paolo Di Canio.  The Black Cats could truly need the powerful American forward to help add goals to the club next season.

However, there are multiple other English Premier League clubs that could benefit from the striker’s skills. One such club is Hull City who have returned from the Championship and manager Steve Bruce is looking to build a side strong enough to avoid relegation and remain in the top flight.

Altidore is likely to have a bidding war surrounding any potential transfer rumor as he may be hoped to only cost £5 million for Sunderland, but he is likely to see a club pay double that if he continues his recent goal scoring form with the USMNT where he has scored in each of his last four appearances and will hoped to be a major part of the American’s push for qualification to the 2014 World Cup.

The real question that has arisen from Altidore’s rumored move is if he is truly ready for a return to the English Premier League.  His one season in England was a horror show as despite his 30 appearances he only managed one goal. However, one interesting fact is that he did manage to provide three assists for Hull City, which is the most he has ever tallied in his career for one season aside from his eight for the Red Bulls in 2007-08.

But, has his goal scoring form in Holland for Alkmaar and his abilities for the USMNT over the last two seasons shown that he has grown enough to warrant a return to the Premier League a positive career decision?

At the moment, to the player, the time could not be better as he is at the top of his game and has proven to be a better goal scorer in Holland during his second season than his first with less appearances. Currently Altidore is riding a high of four goals and an assist in five games for the United States as his summer looks to be starting off well above how anyone may have foreseen for it to happen.

However, to the potential buyer, they have to look at Altidore as a young investment and not expect that he is going to carry the entire goal load for a club in the world’s most physical league. If Sunderland, or any other EPL club do purchase Altidore they have to be ready to give him time on the pitch to adjust.