Aug 1, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT
Rumors. Speculation. Nonsense.
Call it what you will, but this time of the year is full of stories about players heading to several different clubs.
But we haven’t heard much about New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo… until now.
The former New York Red Bulls and Chivas USA striker has seen his career hit a bit of a plateau in the past few seasons.
After wowing everyone on his debut for the US national team — becoming the youngest ever goalscorer for the Yank against South Africa at the age of 17 — Agudelo’s storybook beginning in the professional game has petered out somewhat.
However the 20-year-old might get the change to revive his career.
Stoke City apparently want to add Agudelo as their fourth USMNT player, alongside Brek Shea, Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron.
Would this be a good time to for Agudelo to switch MLS for the Premier League?
It makes a whole lot of sense. See, Agudelo fits into some teams and alongside certain types of players. Chivas USA and New England just don’t play to his strengths as both sides rarely play direct, long-ball soccer. And then there’s Stoke.
The English side are renowned for their direct approach, and despite Tony Pulis leaving over the summer, under Hughes that playing style will hardly change.
Th team is full of six-foot plus powerhouses who can win the ball and get it forward. That’s where Agudelo would come in. Full of pace and a willing run on the shoulder of the last defender, he could get in behind plenty of PL defenses with his pace. But has he got the quality to excel in the Premier League? If he’s given the opportunity to shine, he will.
Having seen Agudelo as a wide-eyed 18-year-old at the Emirates Stadium when the New York Red Bulls won the Emirates Cup back in 2011, Agudelo was full of life and he got fans off their seats with his surging runs and youthful naivety. He wasn’t scared of anyone. If that Agudelo could return during a fresh start at Stoke, the promising start to his career would also return.
After that game against Arsenal in London almost two summers ago to the day, I chatted with Agudelo before he boarded the team bus. He spoke about his plans to one day play in the Premier League and said “this is where it’s at.”
Since then Agudelo has had training stints with Celtic, Liverpool and West Ham in recent offseasons, but nobody has taken a chance on him. Well, Juan, seems like this could be your big chance. If this move to Stoke comes off then Agudelo’s rise to stardom could continue.
But let’s just wait and see. We’ve already heaped far too much pressure on the young attackers shoulders.
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