A few weeks are all that separate Hull City from a move southward to the Championship circuit. Mired in an awful slump that claimed points they should have had–an unbearable beatdown at home by relegation cohort Burnley perhaps the most foul–the Tigers are a mess as are their finances.
The quandary over where Jozy Altidore plays next season while less messy is not simple either.
From learning to earn a spot, playing at the highest level league in the world and improving his “hold-up ability,” it’s hardly a debate that Altidore gained valuable experience at Hull City and is a better player for it.
Remember, he could have been relegated to Villarreal B team appearances this year.
Here’s what’s known:
• Altidore went to Hull City this year on the lease-with-an-option-to-buy plan. The buy component approximately $6.5M GBP. As the pound has weakened during the dollar this year, at the time that was approximately $10M+ USD and is now closer to $9.75M USD.
• Before Saturday’s Sunderland game, Hull City’s chairman Adam Pearson issued a statement saying two things in reference to his team’s finances:
1) The club is $35M in debt with $25M owed to banks. The other $10M is owed players and agents which makes it difficult to deal with the premium of those lots. Hull also has been the beneficiary of so-called “parachute” payments–in they’ve received further payments from the football association in advance.
2) The club’s “wages” bill is $40M and Pearson is aiming to get that close to $15M in the Championship with relegation a near certainty.
• Villarreal and Jozy’s situation…here’s what I know about the loaner and I welcome further insights from experts:
1) Villarreal purchased the US striker from Red Bull for $10M US.
2) Villarreal look somewhat set up top with the starting duo of American-born Guisseppi Rossi (8 goals on the campaign) and Brazilian national and up-and-comer Nilmar (10 goals) backed by 30-year-old Joseba Llorente, who has produced 7 goals in 25 appearances and is also signed to Villarreal thru 2012. Llorente is the holding striker among the three.
Young Argentine Marco Ruben rounds out the front four.
If you remember from Jozy’s brief time at Villarreal his appearances were usually in relief of Llorente who is still a contributor as a back-up.
3) Because of JZA’s Haitian ancestry and due to the Kolpak ruling, Altidore does not count as a non-EU player–La Liga allows three per team. (Altidore has a work permit in the UK through 2010.)
Okay, so we’ve got the boring facts out of the way. What is TSG’s take?
First, let’s not expect Altidore to head back to Hull City. (Odds? 1000 to 1)
Hull is going to need and want a striker that can produce for a quick return to the Premiership–Jozy’s not that guy–he still needs work.
Even if they did want Altidore, Hull City can’t afford him on their target budget given the transfer fee.
Finally here, say Hull wanted to buy Altidore and then loan him out for year with the hope they’d return to top level soccer and bring back the American, it’s a risky gambit….for Hull. The club would need to foot that bill and then do the hard work of loaning out Jozy and negotiating on the fee from a position of weakness–all teams would know they couldn’t possibly afford Big Jeezy for the full year.