We all knew this was going to be one of the biggest moves of the silly season. We just didn't think it would be an NBA reporter going on-record first.
ESPN's Marc Stein, who moonlights for ESPNFC when he's not covering the NBA, tweeted on Friday that AZ Alkmaar of the Dutch Eredivisie and Sunderland of the English Premier League are on course to agree to terms on a deal to transfer US international striker Jozy Altidore:
Big news from soccer world amid NBA chaos: Just reported for @ESPNFC that Jozy Altidore deal to join Sunderland will be wrapped up by Monday— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
The tweet was followed by an article citing sources "close to the situation" giving the specific timeframe. Altidore's personal website then confirmed the move, saying that the financials have been agreed to, with only a physical — set for Monday — needed to make the deal official. However, later in the afternoon, the news was taken off of Altidore's website.
MLSsoccer.com's Greg Seltzer had reported earlier on Friday that AZ had already rejected one offer from Sunderland, with AZ general manager Earnie Stewart confirming that the sides were still in talks.
Altidore, who made the Eredivisie team of the season for 2012/13, scored 31 goals in all competitions for AZ, including the game-winner in the Dutch Cup final. This will be his second stint in the EPL, following the 2009-10 season spent with Hull City, in which he scored but one goal in 28 apperances.
Terms of the deal were not announced.