Toronto FC ready to finalize transfer deal for USA’s Jozy Altidore
Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko hopes Major League Soccer will soon finalize his team’s acquisition of Jozy Altidore from Sunderland of England’s Barclays Premier League.
”We’re confident that process will be done in the next 24 hours,” Bezbatchenko said Thursday at the MLS draft.
As a United States men’s national team player returning to MLS, the 25-year-old forward would be subject to the league’s allocation rankings. Toronto is sixth, behind Montreal, San Jose, Colorado, Chicago and Houston.
Altidore played for the New York Red Bulls from 2006-08 and was sold to Spain’s Villarreal for a transfer fee of about $10 million. He failed to establish himself as a regular, spent time on loan to Xerez, Hull and Bursaspor, then was sold to the Netherlands’ AZ Alkmaar.
The race to sign the Sunderland striker came down to the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, with the Canadian side seemingly winning out due to its higher spot in the allocation order.
"Jozy was a big nut for sure and something that we really felt strongly about having him here in New York," Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters. "In the end the challenges of how things fit with our league resources and putting it all together so that we could find a way for him to get here, it was too much to overcome and too much to leverage."
Marsch added that after his team missed out, the Reds appeared set to land the U.S. international.
"In the end I think that Toronto was able at every level to put more together than we were able to put together and thus it looks as if â it’s not finalized yet â but it looks as if it’s going to go in that direction," Marsch said.
MLS commissioner Don Garber also confirmed that Altidore’s arrival was close, though he declined to name the team he would be playing for.
"We are in very advanced negotiations with Jozy to sign a contract and come back to Major League Soccer," Garber told reporters. "I think that’s very exciting news, we hope to have an announcement with one of our teams as early as tomorrow. You guys can speculate on that but I’m going to leave the announcement to them."
Garber added that he expected an announcement to come on Friday. Toronto FC added credence to that when the team tweeted a picture of Altidore at the Toronto airport later in the day.
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) January 15, 2015
He set the record for goals by an American in a European club season with 31 for AZ in 2012-13, then was sold to Sunderland. He has just one goal in 40 league appearances with the Black Cats and three goals in 50 appearances overall.
Information from The Associated Press and Goal.com was used in this report.