Can Juan Agudelo Develop In the Premier League?

By Duncan Day
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like the New England Revolution‘s young striker Juan Agudelo may be on his away to the Premier League. The 20-year-old American has been on Stoke City manager Mark Hughes‘ radar for awhile now, and recent reports have revealed that the Welshman has locked up Agudelo to a pre-contract agreement with Stoke.

This agreement entails that Agudelo will join the Potters after his contract with the Revolution is up on December 31, 2013. He would find himself on the same team as U.S. internationals Brek Shea, Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu in January.

Since Agudelo is technically a free agent when his contract ends, Major League Soccer won’t collect a transfer fee for the youngster. Officials from the MLS are trying to work out a deal with Stoke so that he will be sold this summer, allowing a required transfer fee to purchase Agudelo.

A knee sprain has slowed Agudelo’s progress following a hot start at New England, as he netted three goals in only five appearances for the Revs, but if you’re thinking that Agudelo won’t play in the Premier League, think again. Stoke is loaded with strikers, but Peter Crouch is unavailable while Cameron Jerome is on the hot seat for betting offenses. Therefore, the young American could see some playing time if he joins the City by January.

There isn’t much to dislike about Agudelo’s potential. The New York Red Bulls youth academy product boasts some impressive attacking abilities. He can knife through defenders in one-on-one scenarios, but is also excellent at setting up teammates for scoring opportunities.

He has the intangibles of a complete striker; nevertheless, the common mistake regarding young Americans are their ill-timed entrances into  European soccer. Most players become overwhelmed by the hype surrounding their status as the face of American soccer, and so far, there hasn’t been one American player that has escalated to the level of a world-class player.

Maybe Agudelo can be that player. It’s too early to tell now, but if he shows promise with Stoke City, he may have a chance to truly prove himself at a more prominent club. Assuming that he can perform at the bigger club, Agudelo would be the first American star.

This process sounds simple when you spell it out on paper, but it hasn’t been easy for U.S. products over the past decade.

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