Jozy Altidore is Hull City’s big summer signing. The US international might only be on a season-long loan deal, but the fact the Tigers have the option of signing him permanently at the end of the campaign for £6.5m reveals the size of role that Hull boss Phil Brown envisages for the former Red Bulls hitman.
Brown was interested in Michael Owen and Bobby Zamora, Premier League regulars who led their line for their respective clubs last season. Once Owen moved to Manchester United and Zamora decided to stay at Fulham, Brown moved for Altidore, who no doubt caught his eye in the recent Confederations Cup.
It is a safe bet Altidore will be used as a lone front man. Brown likes to use playmaker Geovanni behind a strong centre forward – last season usually Daniel Cousin or the on-loan Marlon King – and the American’s pace and power makes him the ideal foil for the guile of the Brazilian.
So what can Altidore expect from his time at the KC Stadium? Probably a relegation battle. Hull won only two of their last 29 League games and survived with 35 points and goal difference of -25. They will surely not replicate last year’s flying start and a long struggle against ‘second season syndrome’ beckons.
Altidore has been joined by muscular midfielder Seyi Olofinjana and promising defender Steven Mouyokolo, but the lack of spending concerns fans who see the loss of defensive rock Sam Ricketts as big one.
Altidore might well struggle for service in the coming campaign, which might not be a bad thing for a player who has found goalscoring easy for most of his career. His all-round game will undoubtedly develop and if Hull do stay up, it might well be due to the goals of their new striker.