When Taylor Twellman reported that Jozy Altidore looked set to return to the United States and Major League Soccer, it turned a lot of heads. Altidore had previously garnered interest from teams in the Bundesliga and Ligue 1, most notably Lille.
Twellman reported that three teams were interested in acquiring Altidore, those being the New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and Portland Timbers. Not long after this report, it was reported that the New York Red Bulls were not willing to meet Altidore’s asking price leaving it between Portland and Toronto.
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On Sunday, though, ESPN writer, Jeffrey Carlisle, has reported that Toronto seems to have the inside track in landing Jozy Altidore. The reason for that though is the interesting bit. Carlisle is reporting that due to Toronto being higher in the allocation order, they will have first crack over Portland.
The allocation order is meant to be used for US internationals coming back to MLS as well as players who started at MLS, left to go abroad and are returning. MLS then got away from the allocation order, creating come controversy over how players were allocated, including the now infamous blind draw.
Dempsey and Bradley were not allocated using the allocation order. Jermaine Jones looked destined to be playing in Chicago last summer before New England threw their name in the hat and won the “blind draw”. With calls for more transparency, Major League Soccer looks ready to take those steps starting with Jozy Altidore and sticking to their allocation method.
With the allocation rankings being reset at the end of each season based on the inverse finishing order with NYCFC and Orlando City SC being place at the top, Toronto is currently higher than Portland. Portland would need to make a trade to leap over Toronto.
For Toronto though, there is more to this deal than just signing a contract and welcoming Altidore to the team. Toronto already have three players over the designated player threshold which is the maximum number allowed in MLS.
One of the three will have to be moved out if Jozy is to come to Toronto. All signs point to Jermain Defoe being the odd man out in Toronto with him being linked to a move back to the Premier League. Reports have Leicester City, Hull City and QPR all interested in Defoe’s services.
Michael Bradley will not be going anywhere, but Gilberto could have a slight chance of being on the move if Defoe cannot be moved, and they are to get Altidore. We will all know soon where Altidore will be playing, but Toronto looks like the most likely destination unless something changes, which it always can.