Altidore coy on Sunderland

Jozy Altidore.
Jozy Altidore.

JOZY ALTIDORE has refused to be drawn on Sunderland’s hunt for his signature.

But the American international has opened the door on a return to the Premier League by admitting he would consider leaving Dutch side AZ Alkmaar this summer.

Alkmaar confirmed earlier this week that they had rejected an offer from Sunderland for Altidore, although that will not signal the end of the Black Cats’ interest in their main attacking target.

Altidore repeatedly insisted at the tail end of last season that he was happy to remain in Holland after netting 31 times last season, despite the speculation over his future.

But the striker now claims he would be tempted by a move away after returning to pre-season training in the Netherlands on Monday.

When asked about Sunderland’s interest, Altidore said: “It is better for me not to comment on all the rumours, not only with Sunderland, but also with other clubs.”

But he added: “It would not be a problem for me to stay at Alkmaar because I am having a good time here and I have had two good seasons.

“I have not had any problems with my team-mates and I feel fine here.

“But when you get the possibility to play somewhere else, you always have to think about it.

“In general, you might be happy in your job and you don’t think about leaving it.

“But if you have the opportunity to work somewhere else, you will think about it.”

Sunderland are likely to have to splash out a fee in excess of £6million if they want to land Altidore, with Italian giants Lazio also interested in the 23-year-old.

But Altidore insists the spoils which accompany such a big-money move will not provide his motivation when it comes to deciding on his future.

Altidore made just nine appearances for Spanish side Villarreal after joining them from New York Red Bulls for £7m in the summer of 2008, before being sent on loan to Hull City.

And after that experience, the frontman is conscious of moving to the right club, particularly as he wants to secure his spot in the USA XI for next year’s World Cup.

“What still counts for me is not the money,” added Altidore.

“I have to know the feeling at a club suits me and I can develop myself as a football player.”