USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann has told Sports Illustrated that he would prefer to see Jozy Altidore remain in Europe if he is to leave Sunderland, with reports suggesting that he could form part of a deal for Jermain Defoe.
Canadian news outlet TSN claim there is an agreement in place for Altidore to head back across the Atlantic as part of that deal.
The United States international has struggled in England during a loan spell at Hull City and after completing a big-money switch to Sunderland in 2013.
While he has been unable to show his true colours on the big stage, Klinsmann still considers the 25-year-old to be a striker of Champions League quality and believes he should be looking to join the ranks in Spain, Italy, Germany or France.
He told Sports Illustrated: “With Jozy, I just say it would be nice if I would see him one day in the European Champions League. Because I think he’s a Champions League player. He has that potential, the talent to do so.
“Now, if there is no solution in Europe for him, if the next solution for him is MLS, that’s totally cool with me. I have no problem with that.
“But from a competitive standpoint, it’s normal that a coach wishes that his players go to the highest level possible. Which would be in his case the Bundesliga or Serie A or La Liga or even the French league, if it’s not the Premier League right now.
“At the end of the day, whether he decides to go to Toronto or New York, that’s purely his decision, just as it was Michael Bradley’s decision or Clint Dempsey’s decision [to move from Europe to MLS].”
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Altidore has managed just three goals in 50 appearances for Sunderland, to go with the two in managed in 30 outings for Hull in 2009/10.
He has, however, shown himself to be a capable frontman in Holland, with a two-season stint at AZ Alkmaar seeing him find the target on 51 occasions.
A fresh start may be what he needs to rediscover that form, and it may be that heading closer to home would be the best option for all concerned.