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Options for Juan: If Stoke City wants to stay in the Agudelo business, there are ways

Nov 20, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT

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Well, well, well. All of a sudden New England looks a lot less foolish, though the idea that they were somehow wrong to hold onto Juan Agudelo after the young striker agreed to a contact with Stoke City flew out the window once the Revolution made the playoffs. ‘Why didn’t they just sell him for what they could get,’ turned into ‘Well, he is their best chance for goals in the playoffs.’ Even though those goals didn’t happen, the bewilderment at New England’s choice dissipated the second the team qualified in the Eastern Conference.

Now the Revolution, who retained the in-league rights to the United States hopeful by not selling him, seem like the most logical landing spot for the 20-year-old, whose England dream is on hold until he gets more time with the senior national team. That’s not to say that MLS is his only option.

[MORE: Shock as Juan Agudelo’s work permit appeal rejected, Stoke City move in ruins]

Occasionally player who fails to meet the high standard of United Kingdom work permits to go out on loan. This happened when Costa Rican international Joel Campbell initially moved to Arsenal (he has spent season in Spain and Greece while still being on the Gunners’ books). At one time, Manchester United have a relationship with Belgian lower division side Royal Antwerp, who at times house players who couldn’t play in England. After a period of time, those players can get European Union passports, which would then allow them to play in England without a work permit. It’s uncommon but not unheard of.

The other option would see Agudelo to sign elsewhere, if the Stoke deal really does fall through. Instead of re-upping in Major League Soccer, a player who has long set his eyes toward Europe could take the road well-traveled. Does Agudelo’s future lie in Scandinavia? Or maybe the Jupiler League? Maybe even Eredivisie? At his age, with his ability, Agudelo presents a good opportunity for a club willing to take two years, cultivate his talent, and sell him for a profit.

With some players having made the jump to Mexico, that’s always an option, too. The point: Agudelo’s European dreams aren’t over. His hopes of making a little more cash than he would in MLS aren’t squelched. Perhaps he can even improve his standing in the U.S. Men’s National Team, should he land in the right league, with the right club.

And that would increase his chances of making his way back to England. After all, we’ve yet to hear Stoke City say they want out of the Juan Agudelo game. Only 20 years old, it’s unlikely he was signed for the short-term gain. The Potters may want to see this out.

  1. hildezero - Nov 20, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    How about the Portuguese league? It’s a great league, better than MLS, and I would think that they pay a lot of money.

    • Richard Farley - Nov 20, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      Portugal is supposed to have a lower entry criteria than most nations, though I wouldn’t expect Agudelo to have the same problems throughout Europe that he’s had with the U.K.

    • lavatomy - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Let’s hope so.. Portuguese league games are always fun to watch. Very technical and always attacking, just look how good Fredy Montero is doing out there.

      • mikeevergreen - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        Gooch Onyewu did pretty good with Sporting Lisbon when he was there.

    • chadmoon1 - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      Better than MLS? Maybe the top 4 teams, but after that, I don’t think so.

  2. mikeevergreen - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    How about AZ or Heerenveen in the Eridivisie? Both have been very welcoming to Americans, and if Ags could go to AZ, he’ll get to work with Aron Johannsson. Good combo for 2018.

    • bear06 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      AZ is stacked with forwards so I don’t see them being interested.

  3. hildezero - Nov 21, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    You guys are all right. Those are another reasons why I brought up Portugal in this.

  4. pauloblitzz - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    There should be a lot of teams/leagues interested in a loan for Agudelo from Stoke but unless he can get playing time there he’s better of in MLS/NE. It’s all about playing time for this young player.

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