US national team star Jozy Altidore opened up about his sensational club season – and his increasingly likely prospects of a lucrative summer transfer – in a conversation with Yanks-Abroad.com this week.
Fresh off a rapid-fire hat trick in AZ Alkmaar's 6-0 drubbing of Utrecht on Sunday which ran his overall season scoring total to a whopping 28 goals, Altidore downplayed the scope of his individual achievements and insisted that he's “certainly in no rush to jump ship” after finally settling in the Netherlands.
"It's certainly not a dream season," Altidore told Yanks-Abroad.com, alluding to his club's flirtation with relegation for much of the campaign. "We haven't played well through stretches of the season so that part is disappointing. In terms of having good fortune in front of the goal, that part is always nice.
“It's important that we stay up and possibly get into Europe for next season. Things can turn at the drop of a dime so we have to stay focused and finish out the season strong."
Even though AZ head coach Gertjan Verbeek recently underlined his conviction that Altidore will be one of several standouts to be sold to bigger, wealthier clubs elsewhere in Europe, the big striker expressed comfort with his current situation, noting that time spent in the Dutch system “pays so many dividends for players. ...You get so educated as a player here and you get to know the game so well.”
Altidore also touched on the USMNT's roller-coaster start to the CONCACAF Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying, acknowledging that “there is still work to be done” for an attack which has managed just two goals in the first three games of Hex play.
"We all know how difficult it is and how much of a grind it is," he said. "It was great to hold tight in the back and not concede any goals [against Costa Rica and Mexico]. We're still trying to find out what works. I don't think it's any secret to see that. I think you can tell by watching any game that we're not as fluid as we want to be.
"Are we getting there? Yes. But there is still work to be done. These next three games will kind of dictate how the Hex goes."