Jozy Altidore heading to Sunderland?
The Dutch club originally rebuffed Sunderland's offer earlier this week, which fell some way short of matching its valuation of the player. But having registered their interest formally, the Wearsiders are reportedly willing to meet the AZ Alkmaar's demands to land the player identified some time ago as the man to freshen up their attacking options.
According to the player's official website, the move is contingent upon Altidore passing a physical, which is scheduled for Monday. ESPN's Marc Stein announced the reported move on Twitter:
Big news from soccer world amid NBA chaos: Just reported for @ESPNFC that Jozy Altidore deal to join Sunderland will be wrapped up by Monday— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
Altidore, who made 28 Barclays Premier League appearances on loan at Hull from Villarreal during the 2009-10 season, scored 23 goals for AZ last season to attract the attention of a series of potential suitors.
The Italian, assisted by director of football Roberto De Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni, has wasted little time in ringing the changes at the Stadium of Light.
His players returned for pre-season training today with new boys Valentin Roberge, Modibo Diakite, Cabral and David Moberg Karlsson added to the mix, and more signings are imminent as the club closes in on keeper Vito Mannone, young full-backs Gino Peruzzi and Benjamin Mendy and midfielder El-Hadji Ba.
But the striking department will be a particular focus after Steven Fletcher's ankle surgery, which ruled him out of the final eight games of last season, emphasized the club's relative lack of depth.
Former boss Martin O'Neill invested £5million in Swansea's Danny Graham in an effort to address the problem, but he failed to score a single goal in his 13 appearances at the end of the campaign.
Stephane Sessegnon's future on Wearside remains uncertain amid speculation the club could cash in on him this summer, while Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won are yet to prove they can do the job on a sustained basis.
FOXSoccer.com's newswire services contributed to this report.