Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The surprising news earlier this week that Juan Agudelo’s work permit application was denied has cost him a chance to join Stoke City in the English Premier League in January.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Stoke manager Mark Hughes reiterated his disappointment but said the club will continue their search for another striker in January. Agudelo had signed a pre-contract to join the English club in early August with his current contract with Major League Soccer set to run out at the end of the 2013 season.
“No doubt somebody in Europe will pick (Agudelo) up and he will be a sensation somewhere else, unfortunately,” Hughes told the Stoke Sentinel. “We are still in the market for other players as well. The focus hasn’t all been on just one player.”
Stoke, who already have three American players on the books, are currently teetering on the edge of the relegation zone in the Premier League. Hughes’ 17th-placed side are only above Fulham on goal difference with each having accrued 10 points from 11 games, and with only ten goals scored as well, Stoke fans have been calling for improvements in the strike force.
“We are looking at all situations,” Hughes said of the team’s need for a forward. “Most clubs are looking at players not involved and most are open to a loan deal or we can bring them in permanently. We don’t close the door on anything. We have been looking for another striker since the summer and that has been well documented. We continue to look in those areas.”
Though he struggled with injuries all season split between Chivas USA and the New England Revolution, 20-year-old Agudelo was originally thought to be a potential boost to Stoke’s stumbling attack. When healthy, the young forward was key attacker for his clubs, scoring nine goals and adding three assists in 22 games.
Despite his age, Agudelo has made 17 appearances already for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but has only been capped twice under current head coach Jurgen Klinsmann since the start of 2012. The lack of recent caps is a likely reason for why his work permit application was denied by the UK Home Office.
Agudelo and Stoke learned on Wednesday that his application had been declined with no hope of an appeal.
Now a free agent once more, the Colombian-born forward could still move overseas to a European league in January, with Spain, France, and Holland all as distinct possibilities.
What do you think of this news? Disappointed that Stoke won’t sign Agudelo and loan him out to another team? Did you expect this when you heard Agudelo’s work permit was denied?
Share your thoughts below.