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Agudelo makes good impression at Celtic

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Juan Agudelo’s training stint with Scottish champion Celtic is going well, leading to positive comments from the Celtic camp as well as from Agudelo about his time there.

Just what those comments really mean is up for debate, but the comments already have the spin machine working at full force as headlines claiming Celtic is lining up a bid for the U.S. national team forward, and subsequent headlines claiming Agudelo is itching for a move to Celtic, make the rounds based on a handful of general platitudes.

“He has looked very good, we have been very impressed with him,” said Celtic manager Neil Lennon. “We are hoping he will stay around for a few more days and we can talk with his representatives.”

When asked about whether there is a chance something can happen, as in a transfer move, Lennon’s responds with more platitudes and nothing concrete.

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Lennnon said. “I haven’t had the chance to sit down with everyone and discuss it but myself and my back-room team have been very impressed.”

You can watch video of Lennon’s comments here to give you a better sense of his responses.

Aside from being complimentary of Agudelo, Lennon really doesn’t say anything of substance with regard to an actual bid for Agudelo, but chances are you have read a half-dozen stories already claiming that such a move is happening. All of those stories based on the above comments.

Agudelo did his part to keep the talk going by–you guessed it–saying nice things about Celtic.

“(It’s) definitely something I thought of as soon as I heard the word Celtic,” Agudelo told STV. “I know the history. It’s basically a religion for many.

“Just to have that there and have the support of the whole city would be lovely. Especially due to the fact they are consistently Champions League. Being in the group stage of the Champions League is huge.”

When asked if he would move to Celtic, Agudelo played coy.

“We’ll see. I’d have to consider a lot of things but definitely, Celtic is a great club,” Agudelo told STV. “This kind of move has been on my mind for as long as I can remember playing soccer. Going and playing in Europe is what I would like to do. (Europe) is, right now, where the best football is being played. I would love to play here.”

So is a Celtic move for Agudelo happening? Until something more tangible than the above comments emerges it is a bit of a leap to suggest a deal is imminent. Lennon spoke kindly of Agudelo and Agudelo spoke well of Celtic. For now, that is all that has happened.

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Celtic would find Agudelo impressive. Despite a largely forgettable year beset by injuries, Agudelo has long been on the radar of European clubs, with inquiries made by English Premier League clubs last winter.

The big issue with any potential move for Agudelo is the fact that MLS won’t sell him cheaply, and like all their young talent, is pricing players out the current market. The high bar set by Jozy Altidore’s $10 million transfer to Villarreal has had the lasting effect of making the league believe it can generate big offers for its young talent.

Much has changed in the four and a half years since Altidore’s transfer. The big spending in Europe has diminished considerably, and even an impressive training stint isn’t likely to compel Celtic to pay a sizable fee for a player who isn’t a proven commodity in Europe. A player who has yet to spend a full season as a regular starter on the club level.

As for Agudelo, it isn’t really earth-shattering news that he has European club aspirations, and it is a good bet he’d leave Chivas USA in a heartbeat if a solid offer came along to pry him away, but anyone thinking a Celtic move is looming for the 20-year-old striker might want to slow down.

The best news in all of this is that Agudelo is in good form heading into the new year. Consider how the current year has gone for him, between injuries, the Olympic qualifying disappointment and Chivas USA’s nightmare season, Agudelo is finishing the year on a high note. His play in the USMNT’s recent friendly against Russia, coupled with the positive buzz surrounding his Celtic training stint, has helped put Agudelo back in the spotlight.

It will be up to Agudelo to work hard to stay there.


  1. From a soccer point of view, the SPL is not a step up compared to the MLS, dertainly notmuch in any case.
    From the point of view of money, Agudelo would make more in the SPL.
    Agudelo hasn’t got an offer from Celtic to consider, but if he does, he has to figure out if the cash is worth a step down in leagues and if the situation at Chivas is tenable (the owner’s comments make me think 1) he has no clue and 2) he would replace Agudelo with some Mexican of lesser talent). The Chivas situation will probably trump any other considerations.
    I just hope Celtic is not his only choice.

  2. LOL at the people that think the SPL is a better league than MLS, lol a league can not be judged by 1 of its teams just 1 which is what the SPL is. Absolute Joke and Agudelo knows it.

  3. I think a move to Europe would help him but as with all players it depends on the league and the team’s particular situation. I don’t know much about the SPL but I have this impression it’s really a two team league/race. I don’t say this lightly based on the Celtic/Rangers rivalry but rather on the points total in the standings over the years. And now with Rangers dropped, well, there you have it. I think the Eredivisie would be a better league for his skills and development. We’ll see…

  4. I would rather see him go to Holland or Spain but Celtic would a huge improvement over dysfunctional Chivas. When he finally goes overseas it will be interesting to see what position he plays…where the Euro coaches think he is best suited to play. He’s definitely a tweener. He fights hard for the ball and wins a lot of 50-50 balls but he isn’t really a target forward. He’s isolated outside and doesn’t have flank pace. Right now his best position is drop forward which puts him behind Deuce in the pecking order. . He’s young and very talented…a very good 1 v 1 player, but in my humble opinion, I’d like to see him get the ball off quicker and improve his movement off the ball…he would be lethal…JK needs to find a place for him in the starting 11…hopefully he gets a shot at CAM.

    • that’s the thing, this isn’t an MLS vs SPL debate, it’s Chivas USA or Celtic. Obviously Celtic would be a much better club for Juan’s career.

    • I don’t think it would be a problem with an appeal.

      He’s basically been on every USMNT (& U23) roster for the last 2 years except during periods of injury.

  5. Chivas should certainly not wait for 10 million. It aint coming. Celtic will try for 2, push them up to three or four. Sell him. You won’t hold him, you won’t get the best out of him. Chivas, you don’t have your @#$% together as an organization. Until you do, you can’t hold onto Agudelo or any other young talent.

  6. He has 1 year left on his deal. Either MLS sells him, or he leaves for free. He’s not going to sign a new deal like Pontius. MLS is losing leverage.

  7. I am on the fence here. I think he could use another season in the MLS. On the other side of the token, opportunities to jump over to Europe should be taken whenever available(more money, better leagues, people actually care about soccer, which makes winning more important which creates pressure which is necessary to learn to deal with in order to play at a high level). The thing is that he wasn’t exactly lighting up MLS while he was here. People like Luke Rodgers( a stud I know I know) were starting over him. So i would hate to see him sign a deal with Celtic for like 500k pound a season then just ride the bench.

    • I mean what really makes him any better than Robbie Findley who does not get any burn at Nottingham Forrest? He recently was on loan at a league two side.

      • is this a serious question?

        Have you watched both players? The first touch alone is like comparing Mickey Mantle to the Bad News Bears.

      • Probably the fact that Robbie Findley possesses no extraordinary talent on the ball. And that’s me trying to put it lightly. The kid can run the channels incredibly well and is blazing fast, but that’s about all. Now, to be fair, that’s probably about all you need as a striker if you’re talking MLS a few years ago. However, I’ve really never see him do anything that great with the ball. Not a great passer. Not a great dribbler. Even finishing can be a problem for him.

        Agudelo, on the other hand, is an excellent dribbler and passer. He still has things to work on, of course, but that’s to be expected out of a guy who is like… What? Twenty years old? Kid can’t even drink, yet his control, dribbling, and passing are all quite advanced.

      • I want a 10+ goal season in MLS before i believe the hype. I want forwards to score goals. Who cares about the other stuff honestly. Whats next, hes really good defensively? That’s great but hes not a defender. He needs to learn to finish like Jozy is learning in the dutch league.

    • Strange… he doesn’t seem to have a problem meshing with the team at Chivas, or with any level of the US team (U20s, U23s, senior team), but somehow Backe can’t figure out how to use him.

      You tell me where the problem lies.

    • What does “people actually care about soccer” actually mean? Is this a cliched/trite reference to the “American” fan? The cliched/trite reference to the “American” league? Or a cliched/trite reference to an “American” team? I never understand why “fans” slam the American league, teams, players, yet apparently watch it enough to have an “informed” opinion. If it’s that bad, of it they’re that bad, why are you watching it? There are plenty of other game on the telly…

      • ahhh hes not going to walk down the street and have a 70 year old Scottish grandpa who lives and breaths for his club tell him he needs to step it up? Thats the difference, i bet people in NYC don’t even know who Rafa Marquez is or Henry. That is part of the perk for those players of playing in the US. Anonymity. The average American does not care about whether or not Chivas made the playoffs; they’re too concerned about the Lakers managerial drama, Magic Johnson buying the Dodgers, how come they still don’t have a Football team, etc Soccer will always be a tier four sport in this country. That is why I think our young players are such choke artist on the big stage, i.e our Olympic qualifying debacle

  8. “Just to have that there and have the support of the whole city would be lovely.”

    Uhhh… Let’s hope he doesn’t find out that this isn’t the case late at night in some pub in the wrong Glasgow neighborhood.

  9. I agree that a move would benefit him, not least because Chivas USA seem to be a mess. But I’m not sure Celtic is the place, because the rest of the SPL does not seem very strong. Perhaps Holland? It’s got to be somewhere where he will both get minutes and be challenged and taught.

  10. He needs to go, I feel bad for him. At red bull thierry made him looked bad and even the coach. At chivas usa his soccer skills will decrease bcus of the fans, the front office and that team sucks (simple as that) therefore if altidore can make it in the dutch league with his below average skills, why not agudelo with celtic for at least 3 seasons. Agudelo has skills but his attitude needs to be taken to the next level, so he can mature and learn faster and celtic is not a bad start.

    • Second language or not, what the hell does “his soccer skills with decrease because of the fans” mean?

      That’s bi-lingual for ridiculous.

      • Calm down linguistic freak- this is not a english literature blog and by the way- tu mom me la p#la

      • What I said has nothing to do with your language, so quit being a skirt. taking that personal and reread what I said.

        Very clearly I stated how ridiculous your moronic opinion was that somehow Chivas USA’s supporters will suppress the development of Agudelo.

        I’ve been coming here for years and regardless of what your native language is, that’s one of the stupidest serious opinions I’ve ever seen given.

  11. ives, if mls execs think that villarreal paying $10m for altidore will convince other european teams that they should also shell out for mls players, they’re even more clueless than i thought.

    i like altidore, but villarreal got played; i think that instance would be more a cautionary tale than anything else.

    • $10M for Altidore was actually chump change. Think of it for a second. No Spaniard potential young talent is going for 7.7M Euros and 6.2M pounds; that’s nothing. The truth is Villarreal did not pay what the typical asking price for a young talent is and even they know it because in reality they were not sad to see Altidore go.

      • it’s not chump change. European clubs are not spending like they used to. There was a brief moment of madness where Altidore went for 10 mil.

      • I totally agree with you and Henry (Hal), clubs are still spending Liverpool did it with Henderson and Downing, City did it with Sinclair.

    • I agree. He needs to play in Europe, but not at SPL. A Dutch league would be ideal for him at this stage of his career, but I suppose he does not have a lot of offers so he could conceivably sign a short term contract with Celtic and use it as a launching pad for moving to a better league in a year or two.

      • Yea, the launching pad point is a good point, too.

        I just don’t rate the quality of the league and not a fan of the style of play. However, if it leads to bigger and better things, so be it.

      • He said Celtic. Plus the Scottish Premier League regardless of what you say is a higher level than MLS. You can try to justify how MLS is a good league but it’s still no where near SPL.

      • well thats what i was going to say. I’ve watched both the SPL and MLS in person and the SPL is higher quality.

        because of MLS’s rigid salary cap they have players on the field that have no business being there and that couldn’t make a 3rd division Scottish league.

      • MLS is way better then the SPL, I been to Scottland last year, for my high school field trip, the game was crap. I have also been to alot of LA Galaxy games, the play was way better. If MLS was that bad Cameron wouldn’t be able to play a EPL game for stoke, when he didn’t even practice with the team. Roger Espinoza wouldn’t be able to destroy brazil in the Olympics, get the heck out of here.

    • agreed. think he could be decent on a bottom-feeder in la liga; don’t know if any of them could afford the mls asking price, though.

      • You guys have to remember that Celtic will most likely be in the Champions League every year because the rest of the SPL are not that good. he could receive some valuable experience playing in the Champions League or Europa League if Celtic falls into that.

  12. In my opinion, all these training stints are a good way of showcasing American talent. Even if no transfer comes about, the eyes of European scouts have been opened to the emergence of young American talent.

    • And precisely how many of those young American talents have been signed by these scouts that their eyes have been opened to emerging US talents? Geoff Cameron? He’s an old man by football standards.
      I disagree with the premise that going on these “training stint” with a club is good. They won’t buy you, you come and train and leave. It’s like a player on trial except the trialist has a better chance of a signature that a player on a 2-week training period.

      • Yeah, and there’s absolutely no value in going to Europe and training with Champion’s League quality clubs, getting pointers from their management, and seeing how their players train and play up close. Especially when you’ve got Chivas USA to hone your skills with!

      • Travis grow up and have a discussion not insult people. GW and Ryan, I don’t see the use sorry. Adu has gone on how many “training stints” now; Man Utd, Chelsea now Galatasary. Agudelo has gone to Eintracht Frankfurt and now Celtic. Brek Shea with Arsenal and then what. If you’re not getting looked at, you’re just a training material. I don’t want that as a football player. Great you trained with top players, so?? Sign the player, that I consider that as progress.

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