Hull City look to have completed a surprise moves ahead of the new season with news emerging that United States and Villarreal forward Jozy Altidore will join the Premier League club on a season-long loan.
Altidore, writing on his Twitter page, did not explicitly state he was joining the Tigers, but left enough clues for fans to work it out.
“England here I come!” the 19-year-old wrote. “First match is against Chelsea (wink, wink) subject to a work permit.”
Hull travel to Stamford Bridge for the first match of the new season on Saturday 15th August.
Spanish side Villarreal paid €10 million for the American international at the beginning of last season. But the former New York Red Bulls player (he scored 15 goals in 37 games for the MLS club) struggled to adapt to La Liga, and only managed one goal in six appearances with El Submarino Amarillo.
He was subsequently loaned to second division Xerez for the second half of the season, where his campaign was ended by injury before he could play a game.
Nevertheless, Hull manager Phil Brown saw enough of Altidore’s talent at the Confederations Cup to convince him the youngster was worth signing to bolster his attacking options at the KC Stadium.
Altidore had a starring role in South Africa, where his power and presence caused opponents a real threat. The striker’s calm finish in the semi-final, coming somewhat ironically against Spain, also demonstrated his ability in front of goal.
Brown will be hoping Altidore is more suited to the Premier League than he was in La Liga, and will believe Altidore's size and power will enable him to be a success. At 6'1", the Haiti-born player certainly has physical presence but perhaps lacks some technical ability—something that was exposed by Spanish football.
If the example of other Americans who have plied their trade in England is anything to go by, then Altidore should hit the ground running. Past and present international teammates Brad Friedel, Brian McBride, and Clint Dempsey (to name just three) have all acquitted themselves well in England.
According to a source close to the deal, who spoke with ESPN, Altidore is excited about the prospect of playing in the Premier League, and also the opportunity to play regular first-team football ahead of next year’s World Cup—something that will also please Bob Bradley and fans of the US natioanl team.
Although Altidore will probably find himself on the bench initially, while Hull's backroom staff assess his fitness and give him time to adjust to their style of football, he will certainly hope to push the likes of Caleb Folan and Craig Fagan for a starting role in the near future.
Altidore stated on his Twitter that there will be a press conference tomorrow (August 6) at 2:30pm GMT formally announcing the move.