Juan Agudelo to Stoke City: Premier League Club Confirms Signing

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 14, 2014

USA Today

Just a day after American star Michael Bradley officially left Europe for Major League Soccer, compatriot Juan Agudelo made the opposite transition.

Updates from Tuesday, Jan. 21

Stoke confirmed on Tuesday that Agudelo will join the club for next season after he spends a six-month spell on loan at Utrecht.

The news was reported by their official website:

Stoke City have today completed the signing of Juan Agudelo and immediately loaned the United States international to FC Utrecht.
The Club were unsuccessful in their application to secure a work permit for the 21-year-old striker in November of last year.
However, the Potters have decided to press ahead with the transfer of one of North America’s brightest young talents and have loaned him to the Dutch Eredivisie club ahead of reapplying for a work permit in the near future.
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The Colombian-born Team USA and New England Revolution striker announced Tuesday, Jan. 14, that he had signed with Stoke ahead of his six-month loan: 

According to Brian Sciaretta of The New York Times, Agudelo's loan deal to Utrecht is official:

The Potters have been after the 21-year-old for quite some time, but an attempt to sign him in the past was thwarted when he was denied a work permit. According to ESPN's Taylor Twellman, Agudelo's six-month loan will likely take him to the Dutch Eredivisie, La Liga or the Belgium Jupiler League:

It has been a busy period for 12th-place Stoke, who have recently also signed Stephen Ireland and brought 21-year-old Swedish striker John Guidetti on loan from Manchester City.    

As ESPN's Max Bretos points out, the hope will be that Agudelo follows in the Stoke footsteps of Geoff Cameron and not some other Americans:

It's hard to believe the talented American is only 21 years old, just because he has been around the MLS for quite some time. 

After three-plus seasons with the New York Red Bulls and Chivas USA, Agudelo was traded to the Revolution in May during the 2013 campaign. 

In 16 appearances with New England, he tallied seven goals and one assist, giving him a total of nine and two respectively for the year. 

Although the numbers don't jump out at you, Agudelo is undoubtedly one of the most talented young forwards in the American ranks. His combination of speed, dribbling control and flair makes him a dangerous threat every time he steps on the pitch. 

Just take this audacious attempt and goal as proof:

Because of both injuries and inconsistent play from the youngster, Agudelo hasn't played in the Red, White and Blue shirt since a friendly against Canada in January 2013.

But a trip to Europe could be exactly what he needs to get into the favor of Jurgen Klinsmann with the 2014 World Cup on the horizon.