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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Americans Abroad re-issue: Jozy Altidore (Hull City)

I earlier wrote an article about Altidore’s move to Olympiacos (see "Jozy Altidore to Olympiacos" in July's archive on the left-hand column), which now has proven untrue.  I assume that this time, the reports of his move (to Hull City) are legitimate, and hopefully so is my article.


            It appears that Jozy Altidore is headed to England now that the striker has completed a yearlong loan deal to the Premier League’s Hull City from Villareal.  While earlier reports indicating that Altidore had signed with Greek powerhouse Olympiacos now prove premature, the same bittersweet reaction lingers upon the news of his move to Hull.

            It seems hypocritical to question Altidore’s move now that he has gone to England, the destination many (mistakenly) criticized him for not choosing upon his supposed-move to Greece.  However, Hull seem one of the Premier League sides most susceptible to relegation as the new season nears.  After winning only two games the final seven months of the season, Hull barely escaped relegation finishing 17th by one point.  What’s more, though, is that Hull have not been able to improve their side this offseason as expected.  Altidore is clearly no first-choice signing, as the majority of Hull’s targets have spurned the Tigers’ offers this summer.

            There are positives to Altidore’s move, however.  Despite a terrible finish last year, Hull did show quite a bit of promise opening their campaign with wins over the likes of Fulham, Tottenham, Arsenal, and West Ham.  By late October the Tigers found themselves tied atop the Premier League, in third place only on goal-difference.

            As for Altidore, with his big body and speed he is an ideal target man in England’s fast-paced, long-ball league.  The American should also fancy linking up with Brazilian playmaker Geovanni, who, despite his club’s troubles last year, had a magnificent season individually. Most importantly, though, Altidore should find a good bit of playing time this season with a Hull squad lacking quality up top.

            Altidore, nevertheless, is optimistic about his new opportunity, indicating his excitement on his Twitter page in recent days.  And naturally, this may be the most important factor to his finding success.  It is certainly a possibility that the American striker expects his stay at Hull to be no longer than his yearloan indicates, rather using this move as a way to attract attention from bigger English clubs.  On the other hand, though, while Hull, entering only their second year in the Premier League ever, appear to be a weak side, their progress amongst the English ranks could be similar to that of Fulham’s in recent years (a team who struggled upon their EPL debut, only to, a few years later, be competing in Europe).  Whatever the case, Jozy Altidore is finally in the English Premier League, where he should be, and this coming season looks to be an enormous breakthrough in his young, promising career.


  1. Altidore will do well at Hull. I remember watching him in the Confed Cup, thinking "If only an EPL team could get a hold of him.." But, I agree, in that he probably won't be at Hull for long. I can see him being the big fish in a small pond there, only to be fished out by a better club. He'll more than likely see the peak of his career with the better club, in my opinion. As a young player, he's got time to get to his peak, but it looks as if it's right around the corner. As I said, his performance in the Confed Cup was really promising. Also, I was glad to see Hull didn't get relegated. I don't know much about them as a club, but their fans seemed very passionate in their final match of the season when they learned they wouldn't be relegated.

  2. Quick note: recall it is a loan. If Altidore blooms into the powerful forward he has the pontential to be, Villarreal could very well include him in their squad next season. I was very disappointed to not see Altidore on the pitch last season--I really do want him to succeed in Europe. I was very surprised to see him being loaned off this season as well. Villarreal released Guille Franco and sold Nihat to Besiktas, leaving Guisseppe Rossi and Joseba Llorente the striking responsibilities... I thought that Villarreal would hold onto him this season and use him as a sub for these two strikers, since the other forwards they have signed are, in my opinion, of lesser quality and potential than Jozy.

  3. Ah, I'm sorry. Forgot that Jozy was on loan. In that case, I see him going back to Villareal after Hull, for, as you said, Villarreal's lack of forwards comparable to Jozy. I still feel as though his best season is yet to be (obviously), but I don't think his best season will be with Hull.

  4. Altidore actually requested a move away from not just Villareal, but from Spain altogether. I think he's kind of bitter after his experience last year. His two priorities at Hull this year: 1) Develop a better first touch, and 2) develop a more-consistent work rate. He may struggle at first, but over time he will become a great export for the Americans. I'd kind of rather see him stay in England. How about you guys?

  5. As I said before, I'd love to see Jozy stay in the EPL. I developed a strong liking for his playing style while watching the Confed Cup. Also, while his best season may not be with Hull, I'd love for him to stay with the EPL so that his "best" season can be with a team that I'm familiar with, (I don't watch much soccer outside of the EPL, the occasional MLS, and, of course, international matches). If he stays in the EPL, I'd be more than certain that any club would be able to utilize him, and season him to be a great player to his peak whilst in the EPL. Even if he stays with Hull (which I don't see likely), all of those clubs should and will be able to develop him as a big name forward. And, like you (Will) said, it'd be a great American story, as well.

  6. Alright, I'll bring my bias here, but I'll justify it.

    I want to see Jozy back in La Liga. I think a year or two in the English game will make him a formidable presence in front of the net, but let face it: you don't go to the Premier League to improve technically as a player. English football favors speed and strength over touch and finesse.

    As I said, I hope that a couple of years in the EPL help him hone his offensive presence and develop a striker's instinct, but if he returns to Spain, I believe he will develop his technique much better than he would in England, making him an all-around striker instead of the more one-dimensional type favored in the EPL.

    If all of that happens, here's my selfish, biased reason for having him in La Liga: he'd be another top player plying his trade in Spain. As a Spaniard, I want La Liga to return to the top of the rankings. Although some say it already has with Madrid's acquisitions of Kaka', Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, and Xabi Alonso, and Barcelona's deadly attacking trident of Messi, Henry, and Ibrahimovic, I'm still not convinced. All of that's on paper. When Spanish teams dominate the Champions League as the did earlier this decade and as England has in these past few years, I'll be convinced.

  7. I'll agree with you that by a textbook definition, La Liga may make him a better forward. But, as you said, leagues differ from one to the other. Also as you pointed out, the EPL favors strength and speed, while La Liga is more about finesse. Saying he'd be a better forward in La Liga is a hard concept for me to agree with, only because a "better" forward differs from league to league. But, I understand you explained it as your bias, and obviously your opinion would sway towards La Liga, as you follow it. They're just simply not comparable; it's like the worn out "apples and oranges" expression. He could put up huge numbers in the EPL and be fantastic by EPL standards, but with La Liga, he could learn touch and finesse far better than any other league could teach him, and be fantastic by La Liga standards. So, if he put up numbers in England, or amazing touched in Spain, which would make him the better player? The answer is neither; because it's just too hard to compare, and it comes down to opinion. And, it's for that reason, that I feel as though either way he turns, La Liga or EPL, he'll be a fantastic player, and a great American export either way. The only reason I'd like to see him stay in the EPL isn't because I feel as though he'll be "better," because as I said, "better" just can't be argued because it depends on what one really looks for in a player, and the preference of playing style/league.

    And Diego, I wasn't looking to offer a rebuttal of any kind, just giving my two cents on how I feel Jozy would be a fantastic forward in either the EPL, and he'd learn the ropes there, or vice versa with La Liga. And, just as your bias wants him to come back to La Liga, I'd like to see him develop in the EPL. But, as I've said, he's a sure shot either way.