Just a day removed from being able to celebrate his 20th birthday, Chivas USA forward Juan Agudelo may have one more thing to celebrate by week’s end.
After reportedly impressing Celtic FC boss Neil Lennon in his brief training stint with the club, a potential permanent move to the Scottish Premier League is in the works for Agudelo (via STV Sport), bringing a momentous end to his roller-coaster year.
In recent years, it has become almost commonplace for Americans to take their talents to Scotland.
U.S. men’s national team players Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya have all recently played in the SPL—however, none are currently with bankrupt Rangers FC.
The question is: Is a permanent transfer to Glasgow ideal for the American youngster?
Agudelo’s potential move poses one minor issue. Simply put, the SPL is not regarded as one of the top-tier competitions in Europe.
The UEFA country coefficient—which accurately ranks the prestige of football associations across Europe—currently ranks Scotland 26th.
True, Agudelo would be playing against European opposition, but it would be inferior when compared to that of the MLS. As a whole, the moderate competition MLS provides is better suited to polish the skills of the 20-year-old striker.
That said, a move to Celtic FC would still greatly benefit Agudelo.
Not only would he no longer be subjected to the ineptitude that personifies Chivas USA, but he would also have the opportunity to compete in the UEFA Champions League—widely considered the most prestigious competition in the world of soccer.
My apologies to the fans, but Chivas USA is a franchise in shambles.
After finishing last in the Western Conference with just seven wins and 30 points, Chivas is still an organization in search of a coach, a roster and an identity.
It is to the detriment of Agudelo to play for a franchise that has no direction and can only manage to score a total of 24 goals all season. His flashes of brilliance on the international level are proof that he deserves more than that.
After a monumental upset against Spanish super-club Barcelona, Celtic has captured the attention of many (including Snoop Dogg) and is in a prime position to advance to the round of 16 in the Champions League (currently tied for second in Group G).
I recently asked ESPN analyst and American soccer legend Alexi Lalas on Twitter about Agudelo’s potential move. He and I shared the same sentiment.
It may not be ideal, but if Agudelo is able to consistently find his way on the pitch for Celtic, then there is no reason he should not embrace a permanent move to Glasgow.
That, however, is the key for Agudelo’s success. He must consistently show the flashes of brilliance that led to Lennon’s praise in order to avoid the similar fate bestowed upon Philadelphia Union striker Freddy Adu.
Like Adu, Agudelo is another prominent, young American talent looking to develop overseas after failing to make an impact in MLS.
It is incumbent upon Agudelo to avoid the lethargic effort Adu exhibited that led to a profusion of failed loans and tenures across Europe.
If he does not, then the story of Juan Agudelo will be nothing more than the prototypical, disappointing remake Hollywood studios are obsessively producing these days.
Follow Eduardo on Twitter for more insight on a variety of sports topics. Follow @Mendez_FC