It appears Juan Agudelo won't be playing in England starting in January after all.
English Premier League side Stoke City revealed on Wednesday that they were "unsuccessful in their bid to secure a work permit" for the New England Revolution star in an appeals hearing held in London.
Since the club has no right to further appeal the decision, the ruling means that the "hopes of securing a move to the Britannia Stadium have been effectively ended," according to the club's report on StokeCityFC.com.
When contacted by MLSsoccer.com about whether Agudelo's contract allows for a potential loan, Stoke City declined to comment further. If Agudelo's relationship with Stoke is ended based on Wednesday's work-permit hearing, Agudelo can still pursue overseas options in other countries to play in January.
Although his MLS contract expires in December, the league confirmed that the New England Revolution still hold the right of first refusal should he opt for a return to the league.
MLSsoccer.com contacted the New England Revolution for comment but team executives were unavailable and outside the country on an international scouting trip.
"Bitterly disappointed" Potters chief executive Tony Scholes had no explanation to offer as to the specific reason the appeals panel rejected the work permit application. Both he and Stoke head coach Mark Hughes presented the team's case to the appeals panel in London.
“We are therefore left amazed that our application for a work permit for Juan has been rejected when you compare his talent and ability to players who have been granted a work permit on appeal in the past," Scholes said. “Unfortunately, under the rules of the appeal-panel system, we were given no explanation why the application was rejected and so can only speculate as to the reasons why we have been unsuccessful.”
The US striker is coming off his most productive season as a pro after scoring nine goals in 20 matches for the New England Revolution and Chivas USA.
Agudelo, who will turn 21 this coming Sunday, signed a pre-contract with Stoke during the summer, a transaction that is permitted in the soccer world when a player reaches the final six months of his pre-existing contract.