Multiple sources have confirmed to Goal USA that Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls are the final two teams in the chase to try and acquire Altidore. The Portland Timbers had been in the conversation, but have since fallen out of the picture.
The Red Bulls reportedly had been ruled out because of Altidore's salary demands, but sources have confirmed that the Red Bulls are still very much in the running. The higher tax rate in Canada, as well as Altidore's likely desire to return to the club where his professional career began, are balancing out the fact that TFC is prepared to offer more money for Altidore than any other team in the league.
Altidore still has options in Germany, Italy and France, but is seriously considering a return to MLS. A decision on whether he will sign with MLS or find somewhere else in Europe is expected to be made this week.
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In other MLS news circulating down in Florida at the MLS Combine:
- The MLS pursuit of Mix Diskerud is into its final stages, with Diskerud expected to sign a contract this week to join New York City FC. There is still some reluctance to call the deal complete until Diskerud has signed a contract, given the league's failed attempts to secure his services in the past, but the consensus around the league is that the deal will get done.
There is so much confidence in the Diskerud deal getting done that multiple teams have already begun approaching the Montreal Impact about their place in the MLS allocation order. If and when NYCFC lands Diskerud, the Impact will move into the top spot in the allocation order, which puts them first in line to sign any incoming U.S. national team players.
- Sources have confirmed that both the New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union are eager to acquire Sacha Kljestan from Anderlecht, and they could find themselves in a bidding war for Montreal's allocation spot. Both the Union (Jim Curtin) and Red Bulls (Jesse Marsch) are coached by former MLS teammates of Kljestan, who has been angling for a return to MLS for some time.
Another team believed to be in the running for Kljestan is, believe it or not, the LA Galaxy. Sources have told Goal USA that the Galaxy could be ready to move midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, which could leave room for the acquisition of a player like Kljestan. The Galaxy tried to acquire Kljestan last summer, only to have the move blocked by other teams in the MLS allocation order. The process left Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena so frustrated that he lashed out at MLS in an interview that eventually led to him being hit with a $20,000 fine.
- The Chicago Fire have revamped their roster this offseason with a plethora of international signings, and are still holding out hope of landing Wigan midfielder Shaun Maloney. The Fire have been linked with Maloney since November and sources say they are confident of signing him, keeping a roster spot available for the potential move.