TORONTO, Canada—There’s a chance Jozy Altidore may be on his way out of Toronto.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, Altidore wants a move away from Toronto FC after a clash with general manager Ali Curtis.
“Sources confirmed the possibility he could be on the move, and emphasized the fact that the player’s relationship with TFC — and GM Ali Curtis in particular — had reached a breaking point, and that he no longer wants to play in Toronto,” wrote Carlisle.
Carlisle adds that a “considerable sticking point” is Altidore’s contract, which runs through 2022 after signing a three-year extension in 2019 and apparently contains a no-trade clause.
According the ESPN, an unspecified club in Liga MX had expressed interest.
Toronto FC have yet to comment on the matter, but Saturday afternoon shortly after 6 p.m. EST, Altidore himself tweeted out: “Don’t believe everything you read. The devil is working overtime.”
Don’t believe everything you read. The devil is working overtime.— Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore) January 30, 2021
The report and Altidore’s response follows comments from U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter Saturday afternoon. Berhalter told media that Altidore picked up a slight injury at the U.S. men’s national team January camp and although Altidore had recovered from the injury and returned to training, with the transfer window looming, he wouldn’t risk playing the TFC striker amid a potential move abroad.
“With the transfer window looming and the game being tomorrow, it’s a chance we didn’t want to take with Jozy, so he will not be participating,” said Berhalter.
“Throughout the last three weeks, you wouldn’t believe the amount of calls I’ve been getting about different players,” he added. “We’ve gotten calls about a ton of players. Jozy is another focus of transfer speculation. I don’t think it’s my place to go into details of that. I think that’s a place for his club and for Jozy. But there have been a number of clubs interested in Jozy, as well as other players in camp.”
Following Berhalter’s media availability, The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio reported that numerous teams have inquired about the potential availability of Altidore, who is under contract with TFC through the 2022 season.
It’s unclear if those inquiries were for a loan or permanent move away from BMO Field, but following Carlisle’s report, it seems that it’d be for the latter.
Source with knowledge of the situation confirms numerous teams have inquired about Altidore's availability for a move. We're tight up against the deadlines, though.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) January 30, 2021
Should be a fun final day or so for a few USMNT players with European interest. https://t.co/6Rhyo9pauX
Altidore ranks second on TFC’s all-time leading scorers list. Altidore, 31, is coming off his worst season in a Reds uniform. When all was said and done, the U.S. international finished 2020 finding the back of the net just two times in 14 games, by far his lowest total since arriving in Toronto in 2015. The man who used to terrorize MLS with merely his presence, looked, quite frankly, out of sync with the rest of the squad as it appeared that the challenges of navigating through the global pandemic affected the veteran in ways it may not have affected others.
But perhaps there was more going on behind the scenes. It’s also worth noting that this wouldn’t be the first time that Altidore has clashed with TFC management.
Furthermore, the transfer speculation comes just a day after Major League Soccer released a statement saying that they will potentially lock out their players if an agreement cannot be reached on a new CBA deal within the next seven days. If so, several players will be looking for a place to play, likely overseas.
But here’s where it gets really complicated.
The European Transfer window actually closes within the next couple of days—in England and Italy it closes on Sunday and in Spain on Tuesday—meaning news about a potential lockout likely won’t break until after the transfer deadline passes.
So, if things continue to look grim between the two parties over the next couple of days, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more names around MLS pop up on the transfer market as players try to secure a spot in a competitive squad before they’re left stranded.
Altidore has been by all accounts eager to get back to his 2017 form, but perhaps it may be in another kit overseas. Jozy is currently one of two designated players on the club’s roster along with Alejandro Pozuelo.
Again, Toronto FC have yet to comment on the situation, and we hope to get more clarity on the matter soon.
It’s safe to say that this weekend just got a lot more interesting...