Jozy Altidore, Villarreal's American international no more. We wish him well(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Even with the uncertainty surrounding Giuseppe Rossi and the need for additional strikers, Jozy's name was never mentioned, so the fact he's not going to be a part of Villarreal's squad isn't surprising. But the fact that Villarreal has sold him rather than loaned him out again may surprise some, especially given the small sale price.
For those of you wanting a quick reminder of how we got to this point, Jozy was signed from MLS's New York Red Bulls for €7.4m when still a teenager, and became the first American international to score a goal in La Liga with a goal against Athetic Bilbao in November 2008. Unfortunately, in retrospect Villarreal was probably too big a club for him at the time and didn't really offer him much chance to get minutes, and with the B team in the Segunda B (third) Division at the time, Jozy was loaned to Xerez in early 2009, where he never played.
Loan spells at Hull City in 2009-10 and Bursaspor in 2011 were sandwiched around a brief Villarreal career (the first half of last season). Jozy's final Villarreal totals are 9 league appearances, 1 goal; 6 Copa del Rey games, 2 goals; and seven Europa matches, no goals.
All of us at Villarreal USA, and I am sure Villarreal fans worldwide, wish Jozy the best with AZ. He's still young and learning, full of talent, and by all accounts he's a great guy. I certainly saw that when attending the USA's open practice the night before the Spain match--he was quite the fan favorite.
I'm just sorry things didn't work out for him here the way he and Villarreal had hoped when he was signed.
The Eredivisie seems to me to be a great place for Jozy, and other Americans have success in that league. AZ sold their best striker from last year, so I'd expect Jozy to get a lot of minutes and finally be able to settle down. Hull was a relegation-bound side with internal strife, Bursaspor was just strange, AZ should be an excellent team for him.
Villarreal is, I'm sure, sorry to take such a loss on their investment but full credit to them for admitting it was time to move on and let Jozy develop elsewhere. I'll leave the last words to one of Villarreal's fans on twitter:
"Mucha suerte, seguro que triunfas! Espero que te lleves el cariño de la gente de Vila-real" (good luck, and I hope the affection of the people of Vila-real goes with you)