AZ director confirms Sunderland bid for Altidore

Earnie Stewart reveals that the Black Cats are looking to bring in the in-form USA international striker but that the two sides have yet to come to an agreement
By Alex Labidou

Sunderland have made a bid for Jozy Altidore, AZ director of football Earnie Stewart has revealed.

The USA international's future has been the subject of heavy speculation, with the striker confirming on Saturday that he would welcome a return to the Premier League, and the Black Cats have made their move, though there is not yet an agreement on a fee.

"Sunderland is a team that is interested in Jozy and that's pretty much where it stands now," Stewart told Goal. "They've made a bid for him."

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The AZ director had explained to Goal in May his hope that Altidore would stay and sign a new contract with the Eredivisie side but now accepts that a high enough bid would change things.

"We're still in the same situation but, if someone comes in with the right price, that's the way football works," Stewart explained. "It's not like we can say that we're not going to sell anyone. If people come and hit the right price, then it can happen."

Altidore's value rocketed following his hot run of form during USA's World Cup qualifiers in June. He scored in each of the team's three games against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras and also had the opening goal in a shock friendly win against Germany in May.

The forward also enjoyed a breakout year in Alkmaar, scoring 31 goals in all competitions, but Stewart believes that Icelandic-American Aron Johannsson is ready to step up should his fellow striker depart.

"He's good, very good, that's why we have him. He's a typical centre forward with good agility," he enthused of Johannsson. "He's very cool - I guess all Icelandic players are - and at the same time he has a nose in front of goal.

"He's a player to be reckoned with and, if Jozy would leave, we already have a striker that can fill his shoes in the future."