Congratulations are in order for Jozy Altidore for his transfer to Sunderland. Any time an American soccer player goes to play in the English Premier League, it’s a cause for celebration. That being said, this move is too much of a risk for Altidore and could end up being a big mistake.
It’s tough to blame Altidore for wanting to return to the EPL. Every player wants a chance to compete in the best professional league in the world, and Altidore certainly wants a second chance after things didn’t work out for him at Hull City. However, with everything finally coming together for Altidore, this may not be a good time to make a change and disrupt that.
Altidore scored 31 goals for AZ Aikmaar last season, playing an integral part in them winning the Dutch Cup. He’s also scored a goal in four consecutive games for the U.S. National Team, solidifying himself as the team’s top striker with the 2014 World Cup only a year away.
The U.S. need Altidore, and it’d be best for both him and the national team if he were to stay put for another year, which would be the best way to keep the goals coming and keep his confidence high leading up to the World Cup. A change of club teams could interrupt a great stretch of play for Altidore, and at the very least, it creates some uncertainty going forward.
That’s not to say Altidore won’t be able to find success at Sunderland. He’s an older, more mature, better player than he was during his first stint in the EPL, and receiving regular playing time should be less of an issue than it was a few years ago. But that doesn’t mean the time is right for Altidore to switch clubs.
Altidore would be better off staying with what has worked for him. He could play with AZ Aikmaar for another season in a league he knows he can have success in; also, he can make sure he remains in top form with the national team. His primary goal should be to put himself in position to be at his best during the World Cup next summer, and then he can look for a transfer, hopefully after opening some eyes on the world’s biggest stage.
With a strong performance in Brazil next summer, Altidore would increase the number of clubs interested in acquiring him, giving him more options where to go. Alas, Altidore has chosen now as the time to make his move.
The transfer to Sunderland could end up paying off for Altidore, and it’s tough to argue that he’s not ready for the challenge. However, the move carries some risk with it, and if it doesn’t work out, there’ll be consequences for both Altidore and the U.S. national team, which makes his decision to transfer club teams at this point in time a questionable one.