As Toronto FC look ahead to their return to action from the June international break, the future of Jozy Altidore with the club remains a prevailing question mark.
Toronto general manager Ali Curtis spent much of his Monday video call with reporters fielding questions about the status of the 31-year-old striker, who has been training on his own away from the club since the Reds' 1-0 loss to Orlando City SC on May 22. It was in the 70th minute of that match that saw Altidore exchange words with head coach Chris Armas after he was subbed out.
On Monday's call, Curtis continued to avoid divulging specifics on the apparently frayed relations between the club and player, but did confirm that Altidore is still training individually in the club's temporary home in Orlando.
"He has been training individually here in Orlando," Curtis said. "We have one or two people work him during the days each day, so he has been working out. In terms of moving forward, obviously I think much was reported regarding when we came off the field against Orlando, and like I said, that we didn't like. At the end of the day also, I'm sure he wanted to play and stay in the match, but it was a situation that we didn't like and we've had conversations with Jozy about that. I've had a conversation with his representation about that.
"But also it was an opportunity to really reflect on what makes sense for Jozy and what makes sense for the club moving forward," he continued. "And we've spent a lot of time during this international break to think about what makes sense for this team to have success, what makes sense for Jozy to have success moving forward, and those conversations are not complete, they'll continue. A lot of these things, they happen in-house and as much as we want air and share with media, with fans, the details of those conversations, I do think it's important that until we have some solutions that we're able to operate and able to have some sense of keeping things in-house and keeping things in the locker room between Jozy and his representation and between the club."
Altidore has become one of the most decorated players in club history since his 2015 arrival to TFC, racking up 59 goals in 127 appearances and acting as a key player in helping the Reds establish themselves as a perennial Eastern Conference force. The longtime US international has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons, and had one goal in 189 minutes to start the 2021 campaign. Asked on Monday if he could envision a scenario where Altidore returns to the club or if a departure is the most likely outcome, Curtis didn't rule either out.
A report from ESPN has previously linked a Liga MX club with interest in Altidore.
"All options are on the table," Curtis said. "In every situation whether we're trying to acquire a player, whether we're trying to find some movement with the roster, I think we find in all situations it's important to explore every single option such that we do what's right for the club moving forward and also we're being honest with that situation.
"You have at every single option possible. You have to. You owe it to the club, you owe it to every single person that works at the club, that plays for the club, that supports the club. So, in all ways, we're looking at every single option. Like I said, it's complicated. Jozy's been here for seven years. There's a lot there. So, let's find a solution, and then when we have that let's move forward with strength."
Toronto have gotten off to a slow start this season at 1-4-2 and eight points, leaving them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Curtis expressed confidence on Monday that the roster additions that have been made in recent weeks, which include Yeferson Soteldo, Dom Dwyer and Kemar Lawrence, can help spark a turnaround, even with the questions surrounding Altidore's future continuing to loom large.
In the meantime, Curtis said, he expects the sides to continue working towards a resolution that makes sense for both parties.
"We've had good in-person conversations with [Altidore's] agent, we met on Friday, and so we're trying to work through this, and I think that as much as we want to be transparent and open on the outside, we want to be fair and do justice and find the right solution," Curtis said.
"Like I said, it's complicated, there are some layers there and we're trying to sort through what makes sense moving forward."