When Sunderland looked doomed for relegation, it looked like Jozy Altidore had two options: play in the Championship or leave the club and let the Black Cats out from his wages. But somehow, Sunderland have avoided the drop so what are Altidore's options now.
It looks like, his only option may be to stay.
Altidore's horrific season makes it almost impossible for Sunderland to come even close to recouping the £8.5 million they spent to buy him last summer. Because of that, a transfer before next season is almost out of the question, but there's also one other thing likely to keep Altidore at the Stadium of Light -- Gus Poyet likes him.
There is no good reason for Altidore to have played as much as he has this year. He's been abysmal and yet, even in the final weeks of the season, the American was on the pitch. As poor as Altidore has been, he has reportedly worked hard in training and in matches, he's tried to throw his big frame around. He's been endearing to Poyet and if Altidore could stay in his manager's good graces this season, you can bet that he'll get another chance to prove himself next season.
Most likely, Altidore will be back at the Stadium of Light next next year, and it will be with a near fresh slate. He'll show up in preseason and, if he can play well, he'll see the field. He might even earn a spot back in the Sunderland starting lineup. If he doesn't perform, he'll find himself on the bench. It's pretty simple and, all things considered, it's a pretty fortunate place for Altidore to be considering his struggles.
There is a chance Altidore could be loaned out for the season because Sunderland will want to buy a striker this summer and that would likely force one of the current front men out, but there are two things working in Altifore's favor:
1) Poyet likes him.
2) Connor Wickham only has one year left on his contract.
So while a loan is on the table -- a Bundesliga or big Eredivisie club are the most obvious landing spots -- it is far more likely that he stays at Sunderland and gives it another go next season. With a fresh slate and a manager who likes him, Altidore couldn't ask for much more.
Either Altidore can cut it in the Premier League or he can't, but it looks like he's going to get another year to prove it.
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