112013_agudelojuan_isi_mlsack20130608122 Andrew Katsampes/isiphotos.com
Americans Abroad?

Stoke 'Stunned' by Agudelo Work Permit Denial

Despite positive testimony from Jurgen Klinsmann and other big names, Juan Agudelo saw his work permit denied. Brian Sciaretta talks to a source about what happened and looks at the star's future.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
November 20, 2013
6:34 PM
It wasn't supposed to happen this way.

Juan Agudelo signed a pre-contract with Stoke City over the summer but his move to the Premier League club is in jeopardy after he was denied his British work permit today.

According to a source close to the matter, Stoke City officials are stunned by the latest development. Under the rules, players who do not hold European Union passports must play for 75 percent of their national team’s competitive games over a two-year span or go through an appeals process to justify themselves. While Kenny Dalglish, Jurgen Klinsmann, and Mark Hughes all gave testimony arguing that Agudelo was a special talent, it wasn't enough

The decision came as a surprise as American players have been successful arguing their cases. Recently, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, and Tim Ream won their appeals with limited caps.

That success may have hurt Agudelo. He hasn’t been capped in over a year and his most recent appearance was a friendly against Russia. He was not a part of the most recent Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying games. In addition, there have been reports out of England that the appeals cases were going to be made more difficult since many players were successful in recent years.

The deal is not quite dead yet since Agudelo and Stoke can make a new appeal in four months. It is not yet determined if they will proceed yet with another appeal at that time or if the deal is now void.

So what is next for Agudelo if the deal with Stoke is dead? He can always likely return to MLS, but he seems like a player who wanted to move abroad. Without an EU passport, however, his options are limited. England is now out (including lower leagues). Sources say that clubs Spain, France, and Portugal are interested, although those leagues restrict non-EU passport holders. Holland is a good league but has a high minimum salary for non-E.U citizens.

He will find a place to play, but the young man's immediate future is surprisingly in limbo.

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