Sunderland and U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore is unlikely to rejoin former club New York Red Bulls if he returns to Major League Soccer during this transfer window, multiple sources told ESPNFC.com on Thursday.
On Wednesday, ESPN FC analyst Taylor Twellman reported that Altidore and MLS were in discussions about signing with the league he left as an 18-year-old in 2008, with the Red Bulls, Portland Timbers and Toronto FC all vying for the now 25-year-old's services.
One source with knowledge of the club's thinking said that the Red Bulls, which fired popular coach Mike Petke on Wednesday, are not willing to spend the kind of money it would take to land Altidore.
Altidore is demanding a salary in the $5-6 million range, sources told ESPNFC.com's Jeff Carlisle, and Sunderland would almost certainly demand a muliti-million dollar transfer fee for a player they paid close to $10 million for in the summer of 2013.
The Red Bulls made an approach for Altidore this time last year, another source confirmed, but were scared away by his asking price demands then, with that source noting that Altidore's salary alone would have cost the club more than they paid team captain and former World Cup winner Thierry Henry last season.
Henry retired following the 2014 season, but the Red Bulls are widely expected to take a more frugal approach to team-building under new sporting director Ali Curtis and coach Jesse Marsch, rather than adding another expensive recruit.
Altidore, who joined Sunderland in July 2013 after plying for teams in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands, has also been linked with clubs in Germany and France.
The two-time World Cup veteran has 25 goals in 76 appearances for the U.S., but he's struggled mightily in England and seems likely to move somewhere this month after scoring just once for the Black Cats in 42 Premier League matches.
His destination may still well end up being MLS, even if his destination will not be New York.