Earlier in the week, U.S. and Sunderland forward Jozy Altidore expressed his dissatisfaction with his playing time at Sunderland and said that if things don't change, he might need to leave in January. If he were to leave, there would be several European teams that would have an interest in him, probably outside of England though. There would also be several MLS teams that would be interesting in bringing in a high-profile U.S. national team player (I'm looking at you, NYCFC). Even though there would be a lot of competition, why shouldn't the Fire get involved?
If Jozy were to be actively shopped in the January transfer window, it will probably resemble more of the Michael Bradley move than the Jermaine Jones saga. As we saw with those two players, MLS teams want to bring in U.S. national team players because it's a huge boost to the fan base and they are obviously high caliber players. Altidore would likely become handsomely paid for returning to MLS but it is yet to be seen if he's willing to come back to the U.S. There are only a few MLS teams that would be real competition for Altidore.
With the New York Red Bulls in turmoil with their ownership situation, it seems unlikely that they would be players in the Jozy sweepstakes. It's always possible that the Galaxy make a move for him to take the place of Landon Donovan but the most likely competition would be NYCFC. They have shown that they are willing to splash the cash with the signings of David Villa and Frank Lampard. Combine them with Jozy Altidore and they could be one of the most dangerous expansion sides of all time. The signing of Kaka by Orlando City showed that they are willing to spend money and Altidore is from Florida so they could also be seen as competition.
The failed pursuit of Jermaine Jones showed Fire fans that the front office is willing to offer a large salary for the right player. Altidore would perfectly fit that bill for that right player who would drastically improving the team. It would be a signal of intent from the front office that they want to win and it would definitely fill up Toyota Park while selling tons of Fire jerseys which never hurts.
The most important part of signing Altidore would be what he would bring to the team. On Friday night, he was impressive playing as the lead forward for the U.S. and he could continue that role in Chicago. It would allow Mike Magee to play a little bit underneath of Altidore where some might say he is most effective. Together with Quincy and maybe Earnshaw coming off the bench, the Fire would have the firepower to turn a few of these ties into wins which would mean one thing, playoffs.
Chicago is the third biggest media market in country but has not acted like it recently. New York and Los Angeles are filled with high profiled stars yet the Fire have not followed suit. The signing of Jozy Altidore would change the complete perception of the club and be the difference that the Fire need.
Signing Altidore would not be an easy task. There would be a lot of competition and the price tag would rival Michael Bradley's but if Altidore continues to drop hints that he might want out of Sunderland, the Fire need to do everything they can to bring him to Chicago.