Looks like the last time we saw Jozy Altidore in Toronto will be the last time we see Jozy Altidore in Toronto.
Unless MLSE can manage to lure Villarreal here for a friendly.
Our friend Ives Galarcep is reporting that the Spanish club has bought the New York Red Bulls' teen phenom for an MLS record $10 million.
To put this potential transaction into perspective, think about this:
When Freddy Adu, the previous "next big thing" in American soccer, and a player way more famous than Altidore among mainstream sports fans, transferred to Benfica last summer, he commanded "only" $2 million.
If this move pans out the timing is ironic. On Monday our friend Ives penned a story for ESPN.com exploring whether the hype that has surrounded Altidore since he entered the league had finally gone to the 18-year-old's head. The story detailed a slackening of Altidore's practice habits and a decline in his playing time.
The folks at Villarreal either didn't read the story, or read it and didn't care about what the unnamed sources had to say about Altidore. Red Bulls boss Juan Carlos Osorio defended his young star, saying he's got a bright future in the sport.
Looks like that future will arrive this summer.
MORE ON MCBRIDE
Elsewhere on his blog Ives speculates that Wednesday morning's trade -- Pat Phelan to New England for an international slot -- was a prelude to a deal between TFC and Chicago for former Fulham striker Brian McBride.
I wondered the same thing when I received the news at practice, but I'll be damned if I could get Mo Johnston to clarify it for me afterward. He was at his oblique, evasive best when I asked him whether the Phelan trade set the stage for future deals. After tree or four minutes of talking a lot but saying very little, Johnston chuckled.
"You're not much further forward, are you?" he said.
But it's the dance we do. My job is to ask questions, and his job is avoid answering them directly if that's what serves his purpose. Sometimes speaking honestly to the press might jump start a dormant deal, and those days you might get something truly useful. But as far as McBride is concerned, all parties involved are keeping the important info real close.
Still, Johnston did manage to illuminate the situation a little, though I'm still not sure he did it intentionally.
To recap, McBride is a Chicago-area native looking to return to MLS after four seasons with Fulham. He wants to play for the Fire, but TFC own his MLS rights.
Johnston is sympathetic to McBride's wishes but says TFC has needs too.
"It's nice to have a dream and to finish your career in front of your hometown fans," he said. "But to make that possible Chicago needs to come deal with me."
Add yesterday's comments with Johnston's assertion last week that TFC was "looking for something big" in return for McBride's rights, and the picture becomes a little less murky.
TFC wants to make a deal but wants Chicago to offer more.
Either way, McBride can't play anywhere until the transfer period begins in mid-July, so there's time for the two teams to reach a deal.
But which side will get what they want?
And what happens to McBride if they can't agree?
-- Morgan Campbell