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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Jozy Altidore seals Toronto FC move from Sunderland

Toronto FC have completed the signing of United States striker Jozy Altidore from Sunderland.

The news was confirmed on Friday, with Jermain Defoe moving in the opposite direction.

MLS sources told ESPN's ‎Marc Stein that Altidore received a five-year deal from Toronto in the $30 million range, putting him on a level with a select few in the league such as Seattle's Clint Dempsey, Altidore's new Toronto teammate Michael Bradley and top foreigners like New York City FC's David Villa and Frank Lampard, Orlando's Kaka and LA Galaxy-bound Steven Gerrard.

"I want to instantly show the fans that I'm here for a reason," Altidore said at a news conference on Friday. "I'm here to help the team get better.

"I'm very hungry to succeed. I wouldn't have come here for any other reason."

Toronto has not reached the MLS playoffs for an MLS-record eight straight seasons, but Altidore said his U.S. compatriot and Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley played a large role in convincing him to join the Canadian club.

"Michael's an honest guy," Altidore said. "He told me from the start, 'Jozy you will quickly see they have the same desires as we do,' to get better and to make a statement in terms of what we're all about."

Altidore arrived in Toronto on Thursday from England, where he spent an unsuccessful 18th-month stint with Sunderland. 

The swap deal between the clubs was agreed on earlier in the week, but the deal appeared to hit a snag on Wednesday, with the 25-year-old Altidore at the mercy of MLS's convoluted allocation process.

Jozy Altidore will look to resurrect his club career in MLS with Toronto FC.

Toronto were sixth in the allocation rankings and  were allowed to sign Altidore only after the Montreal Impact, San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo all declined to use their spots on Altidore.

The New York Red Bulls, Altidore's first pro team, reportedly made a late, league-backed play to move up the ranking to sign their former star. But that ultimately fell though, according to reports, paving the way for TFC to sign the player.

Altidore managed just one goal in 42 league appearances for Sunderland, which bought his rights from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in 2013 for just under $10 million.

"I think as a professional you're going to go through those times where everything is not so great," Altidore said. "How you react to those moments will define you. It was very difficult for a number of reasons, on and off the field, during my time in England but I have a great support system in my family, and I was still able to perform at a high level with the national team."

Altidore has scored 25 goals in 76 games for the U.S., and in his previous MLS stint scored 15 times in 37 matches before being sold to Spain's Villarreal in 2008, when he was just 18.

Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said he's not concerned that he's taking a risk by signing a player who has been in poor form recently.

"Jozy understands the challenges of Major League Soccer," Vanney said. "He's been here before, he understands the travel and he understands what this league is about. With that we get some certainty with Jozy."

Altidore will be added to the national team's roster for a Jan. 28 friendly in Chile. 


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