When Jozy Altidore moved from the New York Red Bulls to La Liga contender Villareal last June, many American fans like myself salivated at the prospects of the 19-year-old wunderkind. Fast forward seven months later and it's been a pretty uneventful move for the New York native as he fights to find place in the first team.
Last week there were multiple rumors that Premier League team Everton were after Altidore on a loan to solve its current striking crisis. Villareal turned down the loan and today manager Manuel Pellegrini ruled out the possible sale of Altidore, saying "Altidore is a player of the future and Villarreal is not interested in a sale."
A couple things to keep in mind. This report is likely translated from Spanish to English. Secondly, this might just be semantics, but was Pellegrini talking about sale or loan? The team did spend $10 million on him, so it's doubtful they'd cut bait this quickly. Also, Villareal might be afraid that once they let him leave -- even on loan -- he might not want to return.
Altidore has only made two La Liga appearances, and six overall -- scoring once in November. Villareal has slumped lately, falling to sixth in the Spanish first division, scoring only 30 goals in the process. This week, too, it was reported that Turkish striker Nihat will likely remain on the sideline with injuries, which you'd think would open the door for Altidore.
No matter what happens with Alitdore, he needs playing time. It may behoove both parties to allow Altidore to move to a place where he can get 10-12 starts over the next five months. That is, unless Villareal decides the time is now for Altidore at the Yellow Submarine.