One of the most anticipated summer transfer window sagas involving an American player got kick-started earlier this week as forward Jozy Altidore was the subject of a bid made by English Premier League club Sunderland (via SportingNews.com).
Altidore has been the subject of transfer speculation for a few months now after he starred in the Eredivisie last season with AZ Alkmaar.
The 23-year-old scored 31 goals in all competitions for the Dutch side last season, and he followed that performance with four goals in the month of June for the United States men's national team.
To be fair, most American fans are unfamiliar with the club who have reportedly had one bid for the forward denied already (via ESPN UK).
The one characteristic about the Black Cats that will stick out immediately to American fans is their rather outlandish manager, Paolo Di Canio, who barely saved the club from relegation to the Championship last season.
During his seven matches in charge of the Wearside-based club at the end of last season, Di Canio preferred to use a 4-4-1-1 formation, which is a formation that would suit the talents of Altidore.
Last season at AZ Alkmaar, Altidore lined up in a 4-3-3 formation but was the lone forward in a lineup that featured the playmaking midfield talent of Adam Maher.
For the United States, Altidore has been lining up as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 with Clint Dempsey playing behind him in support.
As a physical forward who can create something out of nothing, Altidore would fit into the 4-4-1-1 that Di Canio used last season at Sunderland.
If he were to end up on Wearside before the transfer window closes, Altidore would be a massive weapon up front for the Black Cats midfielders to provide service to.
Currently, the Black Cats possess two of the most underrated players in the EPL in Stephane Sessegnon and Sebastian Larsson, both of whom are strong crossers from the wing.
Larsson has proven in his time in England that he can be a valuable asset on free kicks, and if he has a target like Altidore to provide crosses to, his assist total would be much higher than the three he recorded last season.
As if having Sessgenon and Larsson on the roster wasn't enough incentive for Altidore to join the Sunderland attack, which is in desperate need of a consistent, healthy goal-scorer, the Black Cats also have young talents Adam Johnson and James McClean on the depth chart.
Johnson, who was rescued from his bench horror at Manchester City last summer, led the club in assists with six in 35 appearances last season.
While Johnson's career is beginning to come into bloom quite nicely, the potential of McClean has yet to be realized, and having someone like Altidore in the lineup to provide with assists would do nothing but boost the confidence of the 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international.
As for who would play in the position right behind Altidore in the 4-4-1-1, the easy answer would be Steven Fletcher, who led the club in goals with 11 last season.
Fletcher would have easily scored a few more goals last season had he not been downed by a season-ending injury in March.
Having an experienced player like Fletcher, who has played in the EPL with Wolves and Sunderland, in the lineup alongside Altidore would help the young American ease into a permanent life in the EPL as well as give him someone he could combine with in attack.
If there ever was an ideal scenario for Altidore to enter into it would be the one at Sunderland, a club who are in need of a young, proven goal-scorer and have plenty of weapons to assist him on his way to a strong first full season in the EPL.
What do you think of the potential move of Jozy Altidore to Sunderland?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!