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Report: Agudelo set for trial with Wolverhampton


Photo by Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports



After spending five months in club limbo, Juan Agudelo is reportedly close to getting back on the field, though he still won’t be close playing first-team soccer.

The 21-year-old forward, who has been a free agent since May, is reportedly set to begin a training stint with English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. According to the ESPN report, Agudelo’s stay with Wolves is not just a mere training stint as the club views the forward’s presence as a trial.

As such, Agudelo would be allowed to remain with the club despite the ongoing work permit saga that put an end to his time with previous club, Stoke City, before it ever began. Due to the nature of the situation, Agudelo would not be paid, which leaves his presence to be seen as an interview that is allowed by English law.

The report also states that Agudelo could be seen in game action as soon as Friday, as the forward is scheduled to take part in Wolverhampton’s U-21 match against Queens Park Rangers on Friday. The match could be the first of several U-21 matches Agudelo plays in as part of an extended trial.

Agudelo has been out of action since seeing his loan to Dutch side FC Utrecht expire in May. Since, Agudelo has reportedly been pursued by MLS sides as well as Germany’s Werder Bremen, but the young forward has yet to find a stable club situation since leaving MLS a year ago.

What do you make of this development? Hoping he settles somewhere in England, or think he needs to give the Netherlands another go? Still see Agudelo being a factor on the U.S. Men’s National Team this cycle?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. US players need to Stay Away from England. Go to Germany, France, Italy, Holland. England is only for finished products, and the Championship in particular is where subtle refinements in technique never happen.

  2. My own two cents, having followed Juan since the early days at RBNY: his career has been negatively impacted by 1) his own inflated sense of quality; 2) really poor professional advice; 3) some bad luck (ending up at Chivas, work-permit saga, etc.). But he has to take responsibility for his own actions. The fawning adoration of the EPL simply makes no sense to me. Count me in the camp of people who would rather see an Altidore and an Agudelo banging in goals every week in Holland, then seeing them on the bench (or not even!) in England. There are many great leagues in the world. Just find one where you’re wanted.

    • Agree with everything you said, but I think Jozy did the right thing by taking what was perceived as a step up to Sunderland. And now that it’s not working out, he might look for a move away, another smart move from Jozy. As for Agudelo, I have no clue what he’s thinking right now.

    • couldn’t have said it any better.. back four years ago most of us were excited about the future of US forwards; Altidore, Agudelo, Adu, Bunbury… can’t say any of them have really progressed much since…

      Juan and Freddy seem to have the same inflated confidence issue..

      • Adu I also think suffers from believing he should command a salary, and often getting it until the past few years, that carries significant performance expectations. If he went out there with a lunchpail for $150k and kept his nose clean he’d fit easily in MLS. But he’s a DP here and expensive abroad and people expect hustle and performance. They get him standing around and occasionally doing something. And he’s getting old enough he’s no longer judged on potential but rather performance.

      • It would benefit good teams like the US that don’t have to fight regional tournament qualifying and rotate their rosters in the early years of cycles.

        I wonder if the flexibility in the permit appeals process would go away if the standard was lowered. Part of the excuse for liberal appeals was the strict standard. I wonder if they’d now just say the rule says what it says.

    • It would be good in general for US players but I don’t think Agudelo qualifies under the 30% standard either. He’s barely played for the USMNT in the last two years.

      • for sure. and it still stipulates that friendlies do not count. but one Gold Cup tournament and he’s basically good to go if the requirement drops that much.

    • Thanks for posting. Gotta say my main takeaway from the article was…. Wow! the English FA have taken their Keystone Kops act to the next level. They seem to think that these proposed rule changes willl decrease the # of non-EU players in England by about 60. How? Seems intuitively more likely to increase the number to me.

      Man that place is a mess.

  3. “Due to the nature of the situation, Agudelo would not be paid, which leaves his presence to be seen as an interview that is allowed by English law.”

    Sweet! All the benefits of NCAA without having to enroll in any classes!

  4. So what makes this a story? Exactly how is Agudelo going to get a work permit? When journos step up and start asking these questions before going to press (and not leaving it up to the general public to do their own research), then I’ll start taking these stories more seriously.

    • i take it you missed the article early this week where the Washington Post broke the story that he was looking into getting an EU passport via Citizenship-by-Investment in Cyprus? every soccer blog/website re-posted that story so it’s well known that Agudelo plans to bypass the work permit thing altogether. this was the same story that broke the news he only wants to play in England.

    • From the ESPN article: “The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Agudelo is pursuing a European Union passport by acquiring property in Cyprus”

  5. When a player plays on winning teams in the first division of that league, plays in Champions League, that play should be given preference and high considerations for the national team. I mean it’s what Klinnsman has said right? No, wait a minute: look what Klinnsman did to Klejstan. I guess it does not matter what Klinnsman says, right, it’s a relationship thing..Klinnsman likes you or not despite what a player does at the highest level or not.

      • He shows well for Andelecht, gets his look, does nothing special, disappears as he should. He’s not been shut out like Adu, he just does squat when he is given chances, and he plays a popular position.

      • and now he doesn’t even play. he as only played in 4 games. They have played in roughly 16 games in all competition so far.

      • Yup, Klejstan has gotten many chances in a tough midfield and hasn’t done anything of note. He lacks the flexibility of guys like Bedoya too. Nothing to do with JK.

    • It’s one thing to be on a top team in a tier 1 division, its another thing to get consistent minutes, something Sacha has not been able to do for a while.

    • Put this in perspective though. Kljestan got his chance and didn’t impress and his main competition was MB, Jones, and Dempsey for the number 8 role in Mid. He fit all the criterias and got beat out during camps.

  6. No to Werder Bremen? Exactly, no sympathy for him at all. English championship over Werder Bremen? This guy is so naive. He doesn’t know how to think ahead. Infatuated with England. Such a shame. It’s better to go to England after your prime or just before your prime to collect a retirement check. Agudello will continue to stay off the list for the USMNT.

    • Bremen is a traditionally solid mid table Bundesliga side. Bremen won the league in the early 2000s with Klose. I don’t understand the England obsession. Sure its got the most money but… he isn’t a top tier earner anyway.

  7. I think this age group really has a lack of push to be the best players they can be. It was seen with the U-23 qualifying for the olympics there was no push, despite the star power on that team. The combination of shea, agudelo and even freddy adu have all the talent in the world, but no push to move of the football ladder. This kid had so much promise, so much, and now he’s almost 22 and in a sense running out of time.

    • I heard Klinsmann say as much in person last night. He was asked about how the US could produce a world class striker and he commented that Agudelo had the talent, but not the drive/desire. He said Juan gets too content with a single goal or great moment and does not keep pushing himself for more. He countered by saying the opposite about Wondo (relative lack of high end talent, but elite drive/desire).

      • I don’t like JK’s penchant for being publicly negative about players. Just because he is probably right does not mean he should say it in public.

        OTOH, I do like the public complements that are more positive, like the one about Wondo (even if it was a bit of a back-handed compliment). That is about as unabashedly complementary as JK is limey to get.

      • To be fair, he did mention that he talks to Juan every 2-3 weeks and that he believes that Juan was lied to about his work permit situation. I think Klinsmann’s “negativity” was partially to try to light a fire under Agudelo.

      • I’m not a fan of saying a lot to the media in general…by players of managers. As much as people complained about Bob Bradley’s lack of forthcoming nature, I loved it.

        It is curious though to see how many people complained about BB and now also complain about JK being too honest and open.

        Ironic because that’s the very attribute people fawn over Donovan for, including wishing the Nats did poorly in the WC. Odd, isn’t it?

    • I have the opposite belief, that they have eyes bigger than their stomachs, none have stayed put long enough at a positive team location to entrench themselves in the national team. They’ll have a nice run and then like Jozy go transfer somewhere nice where they don’t play. So it’s an ebb and flow rather than a steady build.

      That’s not because they don’t challenge themselves. Benfica, Stoke, Celtic, that’s all rather ambitious.

    • his demands have seen him turn down or lose out on offers from Anderlecht, Werder Bremen, Hannover, Valencia, Sporting, Mainz, and Utrecht…that we know about (not to mention New England). it’s mind boggling.

      • I don’t know the details of enough of these teams to reach a conclusion, but just to play Juan’s advocate:

        1. From the article, Wolverhampton “sees this as a trial,” but that doesn’t mean Juan does. He may be using them to get playing time and exposure to EPL teams (reserve squads, but that includes talent scouts).

        2. I don’t know what Anderlecht, Hannover, et al have to offer in terms of playing time. Should he take a starting spot on Wolves over a bench spot (or worse) on a bigger club? Some would say, “Be a man and fight for a starting spot on the best team in the world!” Well, that’s one approach, but not always the best for player development.

        3. Money. If he thinks he’s worth more, then why not hold out for more? Yeah, he may be gambling a year of his career, but if all these offers are coming in then there’s good reason to think he will continue to have opportunities if England falls through. It’s not, “take one of these offers or never play soccer again.” Not to mention that MLS will remain a huge safety net for him.

      • None of that matters. He can’t get the visa. It could be “trial with Man U” or Werder Bremen, and the choice is still the same.

      • The UK work permit process has more of a protectionist, qualitative barrier. You’re supposed to be on a team ranked higher than x with y% caps by your NT. Other countries it’s more like, is he visa eligible, do you want him, stamp. I haven’t really heard of Americans losing other EU jobs on visa denials.

      • Just throwing this out there, but it’s questionable how much the UK football permit rules are in the spirit of Bosman.

      • They are ok because they rules do not apply to EU citizens who can move freely. Only to non-EU citizens who are not subject to Bosman.

      • 1. totally agree, i can’t imagine Agudelo sees this as a permanent solution.
        2. But rejecting all those and then not playing at all is the problem i have with it.
        3. Yeah, it’s certainly easy for me to argue he should just take a pay cut because it’s not my life. But either way, there is no doubt he would have made more at any of those clubs than he did in MLS and that it still would have been a good wage. And from what I’ve read, those offers are gone. him and his agent burnt those bridges. but yes, there is always MLS.

    • not sure if it’s true, but I saw somewhere he was planning on buying property in Cyprus, and presumably taking advantage of lax citizenship rules, to get an EU passport. If that actually works, it’s only a matter of time until FAs pass an Agudelo rule.

    • I read a rumor he was trying to buy Cypriot property to get EU-worthy citizenship there. Like Yedlin that would get him around the permit issue.

      However, depending on how serious or likely that is, that would speak to whether he should be trialing for Wolves. If nothing’s changed his permit arguments (already denied) would only be worse from more months in the wilderness, which is becoming self-fulfilling by now.

      • With investment in property in Cyprus, one can gain EU citizenship in as little as 3 months. I guarantee that a professional athlete playing in the EPL will be fast-tracked as well.

        Agudelo will put all doubt to rest soon enough. This process is already underway, and Agudelo is now in the shop window with Wolves.

    • Have people looked at the Cyprus rules? It’s like E 5 million bonds, E 5 million company assets, E 5 million real estate, E 5 million business investment, E 5 million bank deposits, or combination of same adding to E 5 million. Plus clean criminal record, Cyprus residence worth E 500k. Am I missing something or would he probably be lucky to meet the last criteria, much less all the E 5 million stuff?

      • I don’t think the 500K home is a big deal. Cyprus is a great vacation spot for a lot of European so he could easily rent it out when he is not there. I am pretty sure he could buy a home there with a mortgage and they could use his potential contract as collateral. That isn’t the issue to me. The issue is that you would have to have Eur5mill in investments in Cypriot funds/bonds/investment vehicles and WHY would any prudent investor tie all your funds that way.

        That being said, I still think that he should have gone to Netherlands or Germany. However, maybe he just didn’t like it there, so who could begrudge him..

      • They’d have to make a $5 million contract over the multiyear, pay him everything up front, and he then flips every dime into getting Cypriot citizenship just to start the contract. Which might be generous for Wolves in the Championship. Makes no sense for a player wanting to play somewhere professionally. Go someplace else in Europe on a visa and make actual money. This is Traffic-level dumb it sounds like.

        That’s not talking taxes, living expenses, etc. In theory he could make money off his Cyprus investment, but it seems impossible? Risky? Nonsensical? If all he needed was the house, maybe.

        If you were going to go this far, why not go back to Celtic?

      • There is no way he has 5 million Euros. Jozy might, Dempsey would, even EJ might but Agudelo? Unlikely, he just hasn’t played long enough or been on high enough salary.

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