United States international Jozy Altidore has recently been attracting attention worldwide since arriving at Netherlands side AZ Alkmaar. After an unsuccessful stint with Villarreal, Altidore seems to have finally found his place this season, bagging nine goals in his opening seven league games.
And now a handful of Premier League clubs have declared their interest in the 23-year-old. With his agent keeping a tight seal on information, the unnamed English clubs are rumoured to be Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur with interest from European giants Bayern Munich and Barcelona on the cards.
“I won’t say whether interest will increase during the winter break or at the end of the season,” speaks Alkmaar’s Director of Football Earnest Stewart. Jozy is developing fantastically, is a real target-man for the team and translates that into goals.”
Just which Premier League club would the big target-man fit in? Andre Villas-Boas continues his learning curve in the Premier League and with a significant victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford overshadowed by defeats to Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, it is safe to say there is room for improvement. What is more, as the pressure grows, reckless players such as Emmanuel Adebayor are not doing him any favours.
What many fans believe would have been a welcoming victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium at 1-0, it was the Togo striker whose red card caused Arsenal to dominate the game. Spurs fans left the stadium in bad emotions but would a replacement in Altidore be a saving grace?
The 23-year-old has already earned experience playing with Hull City in England’s top division in 2010 and may be a welcome sight for a club lacking forward options. Jermain Defoe seems to be the only reliable striker but with Villas-Boas favouring the traditional 4-4-2, Altidore’s physical presence coupled with Defoe’s pace and finishing could be key to a successful season.
Earnest Stewart has already claimed there was a bid from a club last season but Alkmaar were keen to hold on to their main man. This time, they may be left with no choice. “In the summer we had already received an offer from the prestigious club but we refused. There are so many clubs that have come several times to look at our players and all have been kidnapped by the performance of Altidore.” TuttoMercatoWeb
On the other hand, as Roman Abramovich continues to run his non-nonsense model, new Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez is going to be under intense pressure to overcome a poor run and get back to winning ways. Somebody who isn’t helping their cause is 28-year-old Fernando Torres who has all but failed in his attempt to be one of Chelsea’s legendary strikers.
With Didier Drogba allegedly coming back The Blues on loan in the winter, it is clear there is a striker crisis behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge. At 6ft 1in, strong in the air and with the capability to find the back of the net regularly, Altidore is more comparable to Drogba than Torres will ever be. They might not be able to bring Drogba his youth back but can 23-year-old Altidore become just like him?
As the two London clubs seek to battle it out for the USA star, it will ultimately be the young striker’s decision to stay or leave Holland after only two years. What looks to be an up and coming star, will he choose to come back to the Premier League? Or will the rest of Europe be more enticing?